Oh God (4.1) — Calling on the Name of the Lord

Note: this probably wouldn’t have been posted at this point had it not been for Laura’s comment to Oh God (4) — Praying to Jesus?

Calling on the Name of the Lord

As we were further discussing this yesterday evening during out study time, it was curious to read the following scriptures:

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.(Genesis 4:25–26)

Only then? Does this mean that they began to call upon God by name rather than by a title or some generic concept?

And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. (Genesis 12:7–8)

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. … And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. (Genesis 13:1–4)

And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? (Genesis 16:8–13)

And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God. (Genesis 21:33)

And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. (1 Kings 18:24)

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. (2 Kings 5:11)

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:32)

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:20–21)

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16)

Names
I AM

Names have meanings, though we generally don’t have a clue what these are these days (e.g., what does “jonathan” mean?  And yet, you do know what “Joy” means. Imagine if you knew what every name meant because you used the word in frequent communication). Now this one is a bit beyond my ability to fully comprehend:

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:13–15)

Firstly, in Hebrew, I AM THAT AM is:  אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה

  • אֶֽהְיֶה (see: hayah) : “am” while correct, seems to be a rather weak translation. “Exist” or “Being” might be closer, but that doesn’t quite do it either because in Hebrew this is an imperfect verb. Meaning, that it is past tense, but not complete. Might there be therefore some sense that it means “I existed and continue to exist” or “I became and I continue to become.” Is there a sense that it might mean “beginning and the end” (and yet without end)? Perhaps this is expected to convey “eternal,” without beginning and yet became? Or, is it just to continue to persist?
  • אֲשֶׁר (see: asher) : “that” while correct, seems to be…. Alright, alright, I know. Been there. Done that. But, please, look at the reference. This is a connecting word that has no real equivalent in English. In other places and in other contexts in the KJV it is translated as: “which,” “wherewith,”what,” “because,” “whom,” “to whom,” “concerning the which,” “as,” etc. “That” maybe as good or bad a translation as any other.

Here are a couple of other translations:

(CJB) I am/will be what I am/will be

(CEV) I am the eternal God

(DRB)  I AM WHO AM

(YLT)  I AM THAT WHICH I AM

And yet….

So, was God mocking Moses and saying something like: “I’ll be whatever I want to be?” Or, was He trying to say that He is beyond naming: “I just am?” Was He giving a glimpse into His character: “I have always been and will always be?” Or, perhaps trying to imply eternal growth: “I became, and am becoming?” Other? None of the above? All of the above? It is difficult to believe that there is no meaning to this name of God. It is not unlikely that we can’t comprehend the full scope of it. We should not miss the fact that later in the verse we have “…I AM hath sent me unto you….” In short, it may be that the Name of God is “אֶֽהְיֶה” not “אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה.” Or, it is both. God has a nickname?

The Lord (יְהוָה ; see: Jehovah)

Note: Jehovah or Yᵉhôvâh means (approximately) “the self-Existent or Eternal,” which looks a lot like the definition of “I AM,” above.

See where this is going? It gets so fun. In ALL of the above scriptures, calling on the name of the Lord looks like this in Hebrew:  ” וַיִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָֽה .” Yep, they should be translated “called on the name Jehovah.” According to LDS teachings, Jehovah is Yeshua is Jesus. So, all of the prayers in the Old Testament are to Jesus. Want me to repeat that again? Okay. All prayers in the Old Testament are to The Lord who is Jesus. So, what did these Fathers and Prophets know that we don’t?

Miscellaneous

As an aside, it is interesting that the Jews prefer to substitute הַשֵּֽׁם (HaShem : literally “The Name”) in each place where the name of the Lord (e.g., יְהוָה ; Jehovah)
Jehovah) is used. They do this because they do not know how to correctly pronounce it and they don’t want to insult God by pronouncing it wrong (we gentiles don’t seem to have a problem with that. Heck, there isn’t even a “J” sound in Hebrew. This may be like the Chinese trying to say my last name when they have no “th” sound; instead, they say “ssssss….” They sound like Ssssssméagol, aka Golem.  :- ). Remember that the written name dates back to a time when the Hebrew did not yet have vowel markings, so the correct name pronunciation would only have been known through oral tradition.

As a further aside “שֵּֽׁם” (shem : name) is sometimes translated as “renown.” There is something about the concept of name that requires more study, prayer, and understanding, but that will have to be another post.

In Closing…

Whether we know the full meaning of the name of God or not, why is it that we are not taught to call on the name of the Lord? While there is no intent to imply that we should not use the title, “Father,” don’t we have many Fathers: The Most High God, Adam, Noah, Avraham, Yeshua?  More importantly, can it be consistent to think that we must come to know God and yet must refrain from calling on Him by His chosen Name? And then, there is the other fundamental question in the prior post. If They are One, is prayer misdirection of any consequence? And lastly, if in the Old Testament and we presume the New Testament they called upon the Lord, Yeshua, why shouldn’t we?

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