Sunday, August 7, 2016
WHO IS GOD? by Linden Malki
One of the first questions Moses asked when God called him from the burning bush in the Sinai, was what he should tell the Israelites when they ask the name of the "God of your fathers" ? The anwer: "I AM". In Hebrew, this is written in the equivalent to "YHWH". We do not know the original pronunciation; the Jews, possibly as early as the 2nd or 3rd centuries BC came to worry that actually saying the Word risks "taking the Name of the Lord, your God, in vain." Most scholars conclude that the most likely pronunciation is "Yahweh. "
The writer of Hebrews points out that "it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to Him must believe that He Is, and rewards those who seek Him. " The point is that if you cannot believe that He is real, you're on the outside of the Kingdom. Notice that at this point the writer does not say "believe that He Is anything specific; just that He Is. The first thing it says about what He is actually like is that He rewards the searcher; that it is worth the effort to seek Him. Beyond this, we now have a Way to learn more about Him.
After 1500 years of having the answer to Moses' question limited to the questions of faith and obedience, Jesus opens up this question; He nearly got stoned when He said ...“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.” (John 8:57-58) Jesus not only says "I AM", He shows us what God Is.
(Note: When reading Scripture, Jews traditionally don't pronounce the YHWH where it appears in the text but substitute one of the words for "Lord", usually Adonai, and many manuscripts have notes of the vowel symbols for this in the margin or near the Name as a reminder. Early translators read the notes as being part of the actual Name, and so it was transliterated into English (and some other European languages) as "Jehovah". Most modern Jews use the substitute "HaShem" or "The Name".)