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May 8 & 23, 2007

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Ha Shem

A subscriber submitted an e-mail addressing the matter of 'pronouncing' God's name, from this week-end's mailing. The author of that piece was addressing God's "three entity" essence, and only mentioned the matter of pronunciation in passing; explaining that that is how many Jews treat the matter of God's name. But, even though we have addressed this matter HOW MANY TIMES (?) in the past, apparently it is important to some; some just don't seem to understand. They just don't 'get' it! Rather than try to edit its length down, let me instead summarize the concerns for our consideration this time. Some of my answer will be to this person, specifically; but will also address the topic generically, because the person does agree with much of what we say around here; but there are others who, as was said above, "Just don't 'get' it!".

  • In Jewish culture a person's name defines their essence, rather than being merely a 'label' as we westerners tend to do things.

  • That saying names in certain ways "sanctifies" them rather than "profaning" them.

  • Since the matter of shying away from pronouncing God's name, and instead saying "HaShem" (the name), is so important to Jews, this person has chosen to not say God's name when around other Jews, in order not to offend them, alleging that it is in keeping with how Paul says, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:" (1Co10:32 kjv)
VW ANSWER:
Indeed, a person's name defines their essence: that's why God changed Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (the Mighty God prevails).

That is why, when addressing apostate and rebellious Israel God declares: "I am Jehovah (the existing One); that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images." (Is42:8)

When Israel was "profaning" God's name, it was not that they were mis-pronouncing His name, but rather: they were -rejecting- God in favor of idols of the pagans who surrounded them. They would intermarry, and in the process of exchanging families, also exchanged the family gods. The way in which God's name is profaned is when a person, claiming to belong to God, worships idols. It has NOTHING (!!!nothing!!!) to do with pronunciation!

"Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and SWEAR FALSELY, and burn INCENSE TO BAAL, and walk after OTHER GODS whom you do not know; and then come and stand before Me in this house WHICH IS CALLED BY MY NAME, and say, We are delivered (it's OK) to do all those abominations?" (Jer7:9-10) And if you read the context, you will note how many times God speaks about "My name" in that passage. God's name is desecrated when those claiming to belong to Him -DISOBEY- Him, and bow down to OTHER GODS! Or as christendom does today: claim to worship God with pagan architecture, floor plans, furniture, props, and rituals.

Let's illustrate this in human terms. Supposing there is a high-profile family, known for its goodness and philanthropy; and one of its sons or daughters commits despicable acts of murder and extortion, and the family finds itself on the news and in the tabloids. The patriarch or matriarch confronts the offender: "You have sullied our family name!" Does such a statement indicate that the person started mis-pronouncing the family name? RIDICULOUS! They have committed despicable acts and tarnished the family's -reputation- of 'goodness'.

It is just as "ridiculous" to presume that offense to God's name is in its -pronunciation-! Please see: Ezk20:9,14,22

God never once spoke of "pronunciation". As we have observed on the many other occasions we have addressed this: God created all the different languages, and He also knows the various regional dialects. God is called variously: God, Kamisama, Gott, Dios, Yahweh, Jehovah. Where does He ever speak of breathing out, sucking in, and breathing out again while uttering YHVH? (like breath prayer?) Where did Jesus ever command to utter huge swooshing "Ssssshhhh" sounds when saying Yahasssshhhuuuah? God's name is not a pagan mantra that, by uttering the -incantation- properly, that some spiritual mystic event will occur. That is precisely one of Judaism's primary faults, as I seem to read that the MOST DEVOUT Judaists are Kabbalists. When Jews seek out for greater spirituality, I seem to read that the more highly acclaimed rabbis are Kabbalists. Into the mystical and spiritual practices and experiences; much like "christianity's" charismania. So when the vain repetitions (Mt6:7) are being mantracised, they must do so with the correct pronunciations and inflections in order to effect the desired outcomes. Sounds a lot like black magick. And I also notice that Judaism seems to have certain ritual 'prayers' they -recite- at certain prescribed times. Is that not what Jesus spoke -against-? The vain repetitions of the heathen. You see... it's an entire belief system that is gone awry, following in the pagan traditions of idolatry. That's why God dispersed them among the nations. And just because they are back in Eretz Yisrael right now, does not mean they are yet in BELIEF of the Most High. God has, yet, to "purify the sons of Levi" (Mal3:3), and to give them a new heart (Jer31:31-34), etc.

Thus, it is not about the 'sound' of God's name; but it -is- about the -HEART- that utters it! The heart of one who "knows Jehovah" (Jer31:34)

    "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision (or pronunciations) that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God." (Rom2:28-29)

However, regarding the matter of "offence".

First of all, the use of 1Co10:32 for that reason is out of context. And here is what that verse says: "Do not become a cause of stumbling, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God," The context is not about how we say God's name, but of matters related (again) to IDOLATRY and the eating of meat offered to idols. If a person reads the preceding verses, the context is quite obviously clear.

Paul is not nearly as concerned about 'offending' (hurting feelings) as he is in leading somebody astray into idolatry. That is the 'context' of that verse.

Now...

Let's talk about "offense". The cross of Jesus Christ -is- offensive. Paul speaks of the "offense of the cross" (Ga5:11) And what is the context of the epistle to the Galatians? Those who sought to Judaize Christians; trying to make Christians keep and observe the Jewish OT laws and man-made rituals. He uses some strong language, such as, "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth..." (Ga3:1) Paul was never too conerned with 'offending' his fellow Jews when it came to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In fact, Peter proclaimed that Salvation is not possible apart from the "name" of "Jesus of Nazareth" (Ac4:12,10)

And yes...the Jews were offended... so much so that the apostles were dragged before the rulers; and the unbelieving Jews followed Paul all over Asia Minor, raising up persecutions against him. (Ac14:2, etc)

For that matter, Jesus 'offended' the Jews. That's why they crucified Him. One of their biggest complaints was that He did not keep the sabbath...like they did, according to their man-made traditions. (Jn9:16, Mt15:3) He did not keep their traditions just so as not to offend them. On one occasion after His teaching the disciples say, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" to which He replies, "Every plant which My Heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch." (Mt15:12-14) And Jesus did not shy away from claiming oneness with the Father, and said so plainly, "I and the Father are One" (Jn10:30) They were so offended that they picked up stones to stone Him (vs31) accusing Him of "blasphemy" (vs33) But He had spoken TRUTH. And they rejected HIM, who -is- TRUTH. (Jn1:17, 14:6)

This is, still, -precisely- at the very core root of Israel's unbelief. They do not acknowledge Jehovah God Most High. They do not know Him. Instead of calling Him by name, they cower away and say "HaShem" (the name) If a person had a friend named "John", but would never say "John", but instead referred to him as "the name"... would not -John- be offended that you were taking offense at his name, refusing to say it and thus acknowledge him?

If according to this person, in Jewish culture, a person's name defines their essence....which is a true statement....and as such God's name defines His essence; if they refuse to call Him by name, they are denying His essence...His existence.

And when Jews refuse to call to God by name, what service is it to them to further "enable" their unbelief by referring to God as "the name" when in their presence? Perhaps their -sensitivities- are saved, but their souls continue to be lost!

It says, "And it shall be, that whoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall escape (Joel2:32)... be saved (Rom10:13)

Does that say that they should call out "Ha Shem, Ha Shem, Ha Shem!!"? or "ha shem" (the name) -of- what? JEHOVAH! (the One who exists...not idols)

Is it not better to "offend" a Jew, and tell them of their God, Jehovah, and the Lord Jesus Christ...with the possibility that their hard heart will be softened, and they might repent and be saved!

Paul's heart yearned for his "kinsmen according to the flesh", Israel, for their salvation. He says of them, "For I bear witness of them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to full true knowledge. For they, being ignorant of Godís righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes... that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved... For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich toward all who call upon Him. For everyone, whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom10:1-13)

And he continually 'offended' them by talking about Jesus Christ; the one they today refer to as "that man", and also have black-listed Isaiah 53 as a chapter to NOT BE READ...OFF LIMITS.

Paul, who said not to cause stumbling to Jews in matters of meat sacrificed to idols, explained about the Gospel: "but we preach Christ crucified, truly to the Jews a stumbling block..." (1Co1:23a) Why is Jesus a stumbling block? Because He is the one prophesied, whom they rejected... "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him." (Jn1:11)...

  • Isa 8:14 And He shall be a sanctuary for you; but a stone of stumbling, and a rock of falling to both the houses of Israel; and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
  • Ro 9:33 As it is written: Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and everyone believing on Him will not be put to shame.
  • 1Pe 2:8 and a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the Word, to which they also were appointed.
If a person refuses to mention God's name, or Jesus Christ, to Jews, how would a person hope to persuade them into Saving Faith? As long as they continue refusing to acknowledge the Most High, and "that man", they continue to be lost!
    "But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ." (Ac9:22)

    "Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ." (Ac18:5)

    "...for [Apollos] vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing through the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ." (Ac18:28)

    "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born from God," (1Jn5:1)

    "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His glory, and that of His Father, and of the holy angels." (Lk9:26)

And if they attack you for speaking God's name, just remember Jesus' words:
    "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the Word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My Word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you on account of MY -NAME-, because THEY DO NOT KNOW HIM WHO SENT ME." (Jn15:18-21)
Amen!

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Rabbis against Jesus

We speak of how Israel today is yet in unbelief, and how Judaism is not a Godly religion. A paragraph from Sunday's Arutz-7 from an article describing Rabbinical anti-missionary bias.

    "Rabbi Deri explained the original decision to Arutz-7: "We note of late the terrible phenomenon of Messianic Jews wreaking havoc and destruction in Israel by trying to bring Jesus as Messiah into Israel. With pleasantness and kindness, they bring Torah, fear of G-d and even Torah commandments - but all with one underlying theme: that Jesus is Messiah... They want to help and support us, but they have the same goals as the Messianics. They make tremendous efforts and support us all over, and are even more right-wing than we are in some ways, and they help us with Bush, etc. - this is all true, but in the end, they have one goal, and that is Jesus. We are not on the level of early great Rabbis who were able to take the good and spit out the bad..."
It can't be any clearer than that, can it. It is not that they don't understand. They understand, but reject Jesus. Same as in acts....
  • Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the temple commander, and the Sadducees came near them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
  • Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Manís blood upon us.
  • but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. (Acts4:1-2,18,5:28,25:19)

  • But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
  • When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
  • for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing through the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. (Acts9:22,18:5,28)
Same as in the OT; Ezekiel was sent to a stubborn and hard-hearted people:
    And He said to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are impudent and hardhearted children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord Jehovah. As for them, whether they hear or whether they forbear; for they are a rebellious house; yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My Words to them, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, for they are most rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house... (Ezk2:3-8)
When the apostles were commanded not to speak of Jesus, their response was:
    "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Ac5:29) And furthermore, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we are not able not to speak the things which we have seen and heard." (Ac4:19-20)
[Above] we addressed one person's concern about not "offending" Jews by saying HaShem (the name), instead of God, Jehovah or one of God's other names. The same might be said about speaking to Jews about "the man", rather than straightforwardly proclaiming Jesus Christ of Nazareth to them. They may refuse to receive Jesus, as they did 2000 years ago (Jn1:11); but Peter was quite bold to these same Jews that Salvation can only come only through the name of Jesus Christ, and that there is no other way to Eternal Life. (Ac4:12,10) So, if for political and perceived 'offensive' expediency a person neglected to speak of Jesus to a Judaistic Jew, they may die "in their sin", but their blood is required at the hand of the one who refuses to speak. (Ezk3:18, 33:8)

What did Jesus say?

    "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His glory, and that of His Father, and of the holy angels." (Lk9:26)
You see...both topics are related. They are one and the same. It is as Jesus said, "He who hates Me hates My Father also." (Jn15:23) They refuse to acknowledge Jesus, calling Him "the man"; and refuse the Father, calling H-m "ha shem", and write "G-d" and "L-rd". They have bl-nk-d H-m out of th--r h--rts.

Amen!

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