The Names of God: YHWH

This post is part of the series The Names of God.

Exodus 3:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

When Moses asked God for his name, he replied, “I am who I am.” This is the translation of the name YHWH. This is the sacred, covenant name of the God of Israel. In fact, the name was so sacred that when the Hebrew texts were copied, the scribes would substitute the word adonai (Lord) in its place out of reverence. Our English Bibles continue this tradition by substituting the word LORD in all capital letters whenever the divine name YHWH occurs. Have you ever noticed this? Go read some of the Old Testament in your Bible and see if you can find this.

The meaning of the name YHWH is “the One who is” or “the self-existent One”. It tells us that God is the One who is in and of himself. He is the source of all things and not the one who comes from another. He is the One and only true God. He is Creator and all others are his creation. This is the God who has revealed himself to mankind and the God we serve!

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