[NOTE: The material from this study may be used, as long as you document the material and give me the credit for this study.]
by Chris L. Verschage
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and YOU SHALL CALL HIS NAME JESUS, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20b-21, NASB)
THE SAVIOR’S NAME
I can’t think of any name I love more than the Savior’s name. Growing up in a small Pentecostal church on the south side of Lansing, Michigan, I remember many of the hymns and choruses that we sang that focused on His name. For example, we sang songs like “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “All to Jesus I Surrender,” “Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know,” “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” “Just a Little Talk with Jesus,” “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” and “Victory in Jesus.” There are also many other songs and choruses that I grew up singing that I continue to love as well.
However, what I did not learn in church is that the name of the Savior can be seen in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament. Yet after doing many years of research on the topic, I’ve discovered that His name is in both Testaments (or Covenants), and we can trace its transmission from its point of origin, through the Scriptures, into Latin and, finally, into the form it took in our English Bibles. In doing this research, I’ve been greatly blessed in coming to better understand God, the Scriptures, and the process of how the Scriptures have moved from one language to another. But my motivation for initially beginning this study was not just mere curiosity.
Satan is cunning and deceptive, and this is seen in no better way than the conflict that he has brought about regarding the “CORRECT FORM” of God’s and Messiah’s [Christ’s] names. Some may say, “Well, people who get messed up in arguments like this really don’t believe in Jesus or the Bible, so they’ll go after anything but the truth.” But that’s being naive; the fact is that people who do love Jesus and the Bible are being deceived by this false doctrine. My brother-in-law was one of them. He dearly loved the Lord and the Scriptures, and was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, and yet, he went from someone who loved the name “Jesus” to one who one day said, “It’s okay to swear using the name Jesus because that’s really not His name.”
I was shocked. I could not believe I had actually heard those words come out of his mouth.
“There’s no J in the Hebrew language, so there’s no way that Jesus could be His name. His real correct name is Yahushua.” It became difficult having conversations with him after this because he would argue with anyone who used the words “Lord,” “God,” or “Jesus.” Eventually, we had to cut off communication for awhile.
But then, back in 2015, after many years of extremely limited communication, we found out he was dying. My wife and he spent many hours on the phone talking, and near the time of their last discussion, the Lord spoke to my wife and told her why he was not being healed, even though she and others had prayed numerous times for his healing. God told her it was because he had denied His Son Jesus Christ. He told her that her brother had loved Him at one point, but then became confused and moved away from Him. My wife then prayed for her brother again, and then God told her what to say the next time she spoke to him. My wife wrote it down.
On their next conversation, my wife told him,
“Please don’t argue with me about what I am going to read. The Lord spoke to me, and He told me to read this to you, so I want you just to listen until I am done reading.” She then proceeded to read the message to him.
After she was through, she was expecting another fight, because it used the name Jesus several times in what she had written, but instead, he asked her, “So what was wrong with that?”
My wife was in shock. She said, “You always argue with anyone who uses the name Jesus.”
He said, “I do?”
His daughter heard what my wife read (the phone was on speaker phone), and she was there in the hospital room with him. She said, “Dad, she’s right. You always argue with anyone who uses the name Jesus.”
He responded, “I don’t anymore. I love Jesus. He’s my Lord and my Savior. He’s God who came down to earth in human flesh, lived a sinless life, and who died for my sins, rose again, went up to heaven, and one day is coming back again.” And then he asked my wife, “Is that right?”
My wife was stunned and excited at the same time. She said, “Yes, that’s right.”
He and her then continued to talk about Jesus for hours, and then a couple of days later, he died. But my wife was comforted in knowing that her brother who had denied the name of Jesus for so many years died embracing Him as His Lord and Savior.
A VERY IMPORTANT STUDY
There are many more like my wife’s brother who have been deceived by the Enemy into believing in a name and teaching that’s not found anywhere in the Scriptures. Nowhere in the Bible is it ever taught that God has only ONE CORRECT FORM of His name, or that there ‘s only ONE FORM of His name that we are to use in our worship and praise of Him.
HEBREW – A DIVINE LANGUAGE?
Undergirding many (but not all) of those who are arguing “ONE CORRECT HEBREW FORM” is the belief that Hebrew is the only divine language that’s here on earth. But this also is NOT TRUE. In fact, NO LANGUAGE on this planet is THE DIVINE LANGUAGE. Instead, EVERY LANGUAGE is as much a part of the DIVINE LANGUAGE as any other language, including Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English. To begin to explain this, I would like to quote a passage from Perry Stone’s book, The Code of the Holy Spirit: Uncovering the Hebraic Roots & Historic Presence of the Holy Spirit. In this first chapter of the book, Perry Stone is discussing a meeting he had with “a beloved rabbi, Yehuda Getz, a brilliant man with exceptional knowledge who loved Americans and had numerous Christian connections, including Jewish and non-Jewish friends who admired his love for God and for the Bible” (2). In his discussion with him, Stone writes,
I told him I believed in the Holy Spirit, His anointing, and the gift of speaking with other tongues as a prayer language the Lord gives a person who receives His Spirit. To my amazement, he replied with a smile, “Oh, you mean you have experienced the language of God!” It was said as a matter of fact, without any puzzled look or an eye of unbelief.
Being a fourth-generation minister who grew up in a full gospel church, I had heard the terms “speaking in tongues,” “speaking in an unknown tongue,” “the prayer language of the Spirit,” and the theological term “glossolalia.” Yet I had never heard the phrase “the language of God.” Yet this phrase actually described the experience in a more complete manner than some of the terms we had used growing up. There was almost a poetic flow to the words…”the language of God.”
When I asked for his explanation to the phrase, he replied by giving a Jewish tradition that I had never heard or read in the past. My only regret is not asking him for a personal explanation on his references. However, since he was a leading rabbi with tens of thousands of hours of study and stacks of books I have never or may never read, I simply meditated upon his answer.
The rabbi replied, “It is among the traditions that when the high priest would enter the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement, he could communicate to God in a language that only he and God understood. This ability to speak in and understand the language of God only occurred when the high priest was in the holy of holies, and after he exited the sacred chamber, he was no longer able to speak that heavenly tongue.” (2-3)
The high priest understood and spoke Hebrew, but when he entered into the Holy of Holies, he began to speak and interact with God using “the language of God,” and then when he came out from the Holy of Holies, he was no longer able to speak “The language of God.” Therefore, “the language of God” is NOT the Hebrew language, because if it was, the high priest would have been speaking it before he went into the Holy of Holies, and he would’ve been able to continue speaking it afterward. But that was not the case.
What is “The Language of God”?
Is there a “language of God”? I believe there is, but it is not one specific human language. I believe that “the language of God” is a combination of all languages into one single language. In the book of Genesis, we are told, “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” (Genesis 11:1). I believe that the language spoken from the creation up until the tower of Babel was the language of God; however, because of man’s disobedience to God’s mandate to multiply and fill the earth, and their insistence on remaining in one location in direct defiance to God, God came down and like a giant prism, He diffused the divine language He had given to humanity, much like a prism can be used to divide light into various color rays, and by doing so, He created the various languages that have existed since then. Consequently, Hebrew, French, Russian, German, Japanese, Egyptian, and even English, as well as all the other languages of the world are equal parts, or aspects, of the original divine language. To reconstruct the divine language of God, we would need to be able to perfectly fit all of the languages of the world back together into a single language, much like trying to combine all of the various color rays together in order to re-formulate white light.
The idea that “the language of God” involves all the world’s languages is alluded to in Acts 2, which describes the scene in the Upper Room when the Spirit of God came down upon 120 Jewish men and women:
And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (Acts 2:2-4, NASB)
Then in the next two verses, we discover that they were not speaking in one language, but in every language represented by the people who had come from all over the Roman Empire:
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language. (Acts 2:5-6; emphasis mine)
As we can see from this account, there were Jews staying there in Jerusalem who had come from “every nation under heaven” who heard the disciples speaking “in his own language.” Obviously, then, God is multilingual, He does not just converse in Hebrew. Even according to Rabbinical tradition, “the language of God” consists of all the languages of the earth combined into one language:
The second miracle the Midrash preserves is the voice of God speaking in every language known to man. It says: “And all the people witnessed the thunderings” (Exodus 20:15). Note that it does not say “the thunder,” but “the thunderings”; wherefore R. Johanan said that God’s voice, as it was uttered, split up into seventy voices, in seventy languages, so that all the nations should understand. (qtd. in Lancaster, “The Mighty Wind and Tongues of Fire”)
In this text, we see that when God spoke it appeared as a “flame of fire” but then “split up into seventy voices, in seventy languages, so that all the nations should understand” what God was commanding. Consequently, then, in both Christian and Jewish sources, “the language of God” is not one human language, but it consists of all the languages of the world combined. Therefore, to teach that one has to pray in Hebrew in order for God to accept or understand the prayer grossly misrepresents God and His capabilities.
GOD IS NOT A RESPECTER OF PERSONS
All of the languages of the world are equally derived from “the language of God,” and in so doing, it again reaffirms the teaching of the Scriptures that God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Job 34:19) or even languages. Therefore, to teach that one has to pray in Hebrew for God to respond, or to have greater Spiritual power or more answered prayers, only elevates the Hebrew language above the other languages of the world, which then violates Scripture, because at that point then God becomes a respecter of persons, contradicting the above-mentioned Scriptures. This can also be said to those who argue that only the English name “Jesus” should be used.
Of course, this error intensifies greatly when you have individuals and groups (such as the House of Yahweh) who even go so far as to deny basic biblical teachings, such as “the Trinity,” “the divinity of Christ [Messiah],” and “the divine inspiration of the New Testament.” These individuals or groups should be avoided since the Scriptures teach,
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. (Romans 16:17, NASB)
NOTE: I am not saying here that all groups or individuals who use a Hebrew form is to be avoided since there are many wonderful teachers who use the Hebrew to give further insight and clarity on the Scriptures. Instead, I am only advising people to avoid those individuals or groups that insist that there is “ONLY ONE CORRECT FORM” of God’s name or Christ’s [Messiah’s] name that can be used.