Does the Bible Teach "Sacred Names"?
Does it make any difference which names we use for the Father and the Son? What is God's name? If we call him "ADONAI", there was an ancient pagan god called "ADONIS". If we call him "JEHOVAH", there was an ancient pagan Latin god named "JOVE". If we use "ELOHIM" there were also ashtoreth called "ELOHIM" (1 Ki. 11:5,33). They say "GOD" comes from the pagan name "GAD" (Isa. 65:11). Those who use the word "AMEN" (Rev. 3:14) are condemned as worshipping "AMEN-RA" -- the Egyptian Sun god. Those who use the word "HOLY" are said to be worshipping the Sun god "HELIOS." But Jesus is actually compared to the sun in Malachi 4:2. If we call God our Master (Heb. "BAAL" in Hosea 2:16-17), we are condemned as BAAL-worshippers. And if we call God by the Greek word THEOS (Luke 4:4; Acts 17:18), there were pagan gods also by that name THEA (Acts 19:27). What can we do?
1. We are commanded to "make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth" (Ex. 23:13). Yet the Bible refers to the names of pagan deities in many places: Tammuz, Molech, Asherah, Baal, Dagon and Beelzebub. Are we not allowed to read these scriptures aloud? Why are the names "Shadrach (sungod), Meshach, and Abed-nego" (Nebo - Mercury) (Dan. 2:49) mentioned in Scripture as well as "BelteShazzar" (god Baal king)? Pagan names are intertwined in our language to such an extent that it would be hard to communicate properly without using them. For instance, the word "fortunate" comes from the Roman goddess "Fortuna." The word "money" comes from the Roman god "Moneta." The names of the days of the week, some months of the year and the planets of our solar system are all names of pagan gods. Even personal names such as "Diana" and "Apollo" are from pagan gods. Yet we know that both Luke and Paul mentioned the name "Apollos" (Acts 18:24; Titus 3:13) and "Fortunatus" (1 Cor. 16:17). If the vocal sounds that our mouths make, rather than the intent of our words, is the criterion that counts, then sacred-name people may have to resort to sign language.
2. Those who quote Ps. 83:18 as supposed proof that YHWH is the only correct name for God should realize that Exodus 3:13-14 says "I AM" is a correct name. In Genesis 17:1 and Exodus 6:3 we see "God ALMIGHTY" as a correct name for God. Then we notice that Israel was a people called by his name: "we are called by Your name" (Jer. 14:9); "Your people are called by Your name" (Dan. 9:19); "my people, which are called by my name" (2 Chr. 7:14) -- that is ISRAEL -- not Yahweh. Then in Luke 4:4 and Acts 17:18-31 we see that THEOS is also a legitimate name of God. But also of pagan gods (Acts 19:27).
God himself confused the languages (Gen. 11:1-9) and created many different types of speech. God himself performed the tongue-speaking miracle on the Day of Pentecost since many languages were spoken by the apostles "as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). In the future, God will give "to the peoples a PURE LANGUAGE, that they may all call upon the name of Jehovah, to serve him with one consent" (Zeph. 3:9, ASV).
4. If "Lord", "God" and "Christ" are forbidden since they are English rather than Hebrew words, why continue to use "Father" (English) rather than "Ab" (Hebrew)? Why continue to use the Latin word "Creator" and the Latin word "Savior" rather than Hebrew equivalents "Bara" and "Yasha"?
5. There was an ancient pagan god called "ADONIS" which is very similar to the Hebrew word "ADONAI" which corresponds to our word Lord. There was an ancient pagan Latin name "JOVE" was very similar to the Hebrew "JEHOVAH". Also there is no doubt that the Greek form of the abbreviation for the word Jehovah was "IAO" since the Greeks had none of the Hebrew letters YHVH in the Greek alphabet and that is the nearest they could come to "Yaho" or "Jeho". But IAO is the Phoenician sun god.
"ELOHIM" refers not only to the true God, but also to "ELOHIM" Ashtoreth (1 Ki. 11:5,33). Elohim is used over 200 times to designate false gods such as Baal, Chemosh, Dagon, Milcom, Nisroch and Ashtoreth. Those who use the word "AMEN" are condemned as worshipping "AMEN-RA" -- the Sun god. But the Bible calls Jesus "AMEN" in Rev. 3:14. Those who use the word "Holy" are said to be worshipping the Sun god "Helios." But Jesus is actually compared to the sun in Malachi 4:2: "the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." In Exodus 22:8, Judges 19:22-23. Ecclesiastes 12:11 and Isaiah 1:3 and 16:8 we find that the word "BAAL" merely means "master" and doesn't have any evil connotation. Even the words "Adon" and "Adonai" both mean "Lord" or "Master" in Hebrew. So in Hosea 2:16-17, both "Ishi" and "BAALI" are correct designations for God. Ancient Israel used both. One merely expresses more of a loving relationship. Then in Luke 4:4 and Acts 17:18-31 we see that THEOS is a legitimate name of God. But also of pagan gods (Acts 19:27). All of these parallels suggest INTERCHANGEABILITY -- not an either/or choice. The Sacred Names doctrine is hair-splitting.
6. Was the New Testament written originally in Hebrew? With the exception of Matthew, certainly not. Paul sent his epistles to his Greek churches in a language they could read. Paul knew Greek (Acts 21:37). Paul's native city, Tarsus, was a Greek city. Paul's missionary labors were mostly among Greek-speaking peoples, but we never hear of his having an interpreter. Even the inscription on the cross was in Greek, Latin and Hebrew implying that there were Greeks present in Jerusalem who could read it. Furthermore, the Septuagint, or Greek version of the Old Testament Scriptures, was familiar both to Jews and Gentiles at the time. "Jesus and his apostles frequently quoted the Septuagint in place of the Hebrew" (Encyclopedic Dictionary). This means that Greek names for God are every bit as inspired as the Hebrew. But the Sacred Name doctrine must deny the Greek-inspired New Testament in order to hide the evidence of "THEOS."
7. The name "Jesus" does not come from Latin "Zeus" since Acts 17:18 shows Jesus was a "strange god" to these Greeks. They knew about Zeus. It is "the Greek form of the name Jeshua, a contraction of Jehoshua, that is "help of Jehovah" or "Savior" (Num. 13:16). The "h" they did not have in their written language. The final "s" was added, but this is not strange since this was the Greek of singular number -- indicating monotheism. The first letter of the Hebrew name "Yeshua" could not be duplicated either in Greek or in English. The Greek substitute was "I" while the English is "J". It is true that the English alphabet contains a Y, but it is not a duplicate of the Hebrew Y in sound. The Hebrew letter Y, which is spelled Yodh in Hebrew, is spelled Jod in English: if you doubt this, turn to Psalm 119 and read between verses 72 and 73. It is therefore a mistake to use our English letter Y in place of the Hebrew letter Y. If you insist that the most sacred name must begin with Y, to be consistent, you must use the Y in other names as well. Even though our J is a modern invention, the sound that J represents is not of modern origin. Our letter J is an offspring from the letter I, which was the ancient Greek substitute for the Hebrew Y. And since J is a consonant, it doubtless is more nearly a duplicate of the Hebrew consonant than was the ancient letter I. Therefore, "Je" stands for Jehovah; "su" is for savior, and the final "s" denotes oneness of the Deity. Jesus is not a Greek name, but is an abbreviated form of the Hebrew name Jehoshua. Iesous adds up to 888 in Greek. Furthermore, read the verse "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they will call the name of him Emmanuel, which is being interpreted -- with us God" (Matt. 1:23). The Greek in this verse adds up to exactly 8880. If Greek were uninspired and not the original, why does it have a numerical stamp of approval.
8. Those who use the name "God" are likened to those who "prepare a table for Gad, and who furnish a drink offering for for Meni" (Isa. 65:11). There is no proof for this statement. Yet those who use the name "God" are compared to Baal-worshippers (Josh. 11:17; 12:7; 13:5). But is it the similar vocal sounds, or the deeds, that are condemned?
9. When the Philadelphian Church was told, "thou ... hast not denied my name", people don't realize that it is "in works they deny him" (Tit. 1:16), not a mere vocal pronuciation. See also John 17:6,26 which tells us that Christ "declared unto them thy name, and will declare it." Nowhere do we find Christ declaring "YHWH." Instead He revealed what the Father was like, not some secret password of a name.
10. "Many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many" (Mark 13:6). But for the last 2000 years there have been no people come as "Yahwists." The "Sacred Names" movement didn't even get started till about 1939. But many have come as "Christians" proclaiming "Jesus" and have deceived many. So this proves that "Jesus" the Christ is his name.