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The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 2)

         Who is the Father? Who is the Holy Spirit? Why don’t they have names? Prior to its translation into English, the Greek New Testament renders the words Theos (God), Kurios (Lord), Pater (Father), Huios (Son), and Hagios Pneuma (Holy Spirit) as descriptive terms and titles of God. Though the argument has been explained exhaustively, it must be stated yet again for purposes of this study that the same individual may be a grandfather, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, an uncle, a cousin, and a nephew. These are not names. They are relational titles. Why do we not see the same applied to God? Why cannot God possess a multiplicity of titles but remain a single individual? Why has religion and theological reasoning transformed Him into three people?

         Consider the following: The title “Holy Spirit” (Ruach haQodesh) only appears three times in the entire Old Testament. It appears first in Psalm 51, when David says:

         Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. [Psalm 51:11]

         David used the term as indicative of the Spirit of God, but he also addressed God in the same Psalm using the terms “God” (Elohim) and “Lord” (Adonai). Of course, the Hebrew word Adonai was used by the scribes as a substitute written word for YHWH, so David actually used two different titles (Elohim and Ruach haQodesh) and also one of God’s primary Old Testament names (YHWH). One should be able to clearly see that David was not denoting a plurality of persons, but one God.

         The only other occurrences in the Old Testament of the term “Holy Spirit” take place in consecutive verses in the Book of Isaiah. What follows is the entire sixty-third chapter sandwiched around those two verses, to give proper perspective that Isaiah the prophet was speaking of one God by using several titles and many personal pronouns invoking a single Person:

         Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?

         “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

         Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

         “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me, and My wrath upheld Me. I trod down the peoples in My anger and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

         I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion and according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, “Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.

         But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,

         Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; as the cattle which go down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD gave them rest. So You led Your people, to make for Yourself a glorious name. Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation; where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me. For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name. Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways and harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage. Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trodden it down. We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, like those who were not called by Your name. [Isaiah 63:1-19] [1]

         In this passage, Isaiah uses the following descriptive terms and titles of God:

(1) “My own arm”

(2) “Savior”

(3) “The angel of His presence”

(4) “His Holy Spirit”

(5) “His glorious arm”

(6) “The Spirit of the LORD (YHWH)”

(7) “Our Father”

(8) “Our Redeemer”

(9) “LORD (YHWH)”

         The prophet also makes four references to God’s Name:

(1) An everlasting name (Verse 12)

(2) A glorious name (Verse 14)

(3) You, O LORD (YHWH), are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name (Verse 16)

(4) Your name (verse 19)

         Though he used many descriptive terms and titles, the only name that Isaiah used exclusively was YHWH, the Old Testament covenant name of God.

         The Name above every name [2], however, is “YHWH is Salvation” (“YHWH Saves”), or Yehoshua in Hebrew (shortened to Yeshua).

         This highest of all names was then translated into the original Greek New Testament writings as Iesous, and then into the Late Latin (transliterated into English) as the great name of Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Philippians 2:9

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