A SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR DECEMBER 2000
A LETTER OF EXPLANATION
It hardly seems possible that we are in the last month of the year 2000. Many of us never thought we would live to see the 20th Century end, but God has graciously allowed us to see the turn of die Century. This has been a momentous year and we are "not out of the woods" yet!
It is always good to see the Old year end on a positive note so this message will be a change of pace from the normal Intelligence Report.
I have had many people from within the Identity Movement, who have asked why I normally do not use the old Hebrew names for God and Jesus, which are referred to as the Sacxed Names?
In some cases, this usage has become a sore spot within the Christian Identity Movement, as extremists have told me that God would not hear and answer our prayers, if I did not speak to Him, using His old Hebrew name. One brother even went so far as t0 tell me I was wasting my time praying to God. This caused me to smite, since He has been hearing and answering my prayers, for the 36 years I have been in His service, and even before when I called on Him for mercy. I have never addressed my Heavenly Father other than by His English name of God.
Unfortunately, some in the Identity Movement, have carried this to the extremes and have broken fellowship with those of us who use the English names for God and His Son.
I do not criticize anyone who uses the old Hebrew names, and I sometimes use them myself, when I am with people who understand what they mean, I have found that the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians, do not understand what we are speaking about, when we use the Hebrew words YAHWEH and YASHUA. Since the Bible is not a book of confusion, 1 have attempted to keep away from, anything that might cause it, as long as I know I am within the authority of God's Word.
I am indebted in my defense, to the words, of a J. Preston Eby, of Kingdom Bible Studies, P.O. Box 371240, El Paso, TX 79937, which expresses my feelings better than I could myself. I am quoting them in part with Editorial License.
There is much misleading teaching in these days concerning what is known as the Sacred Name Doctrine. So I will attempt to shine the light of God's Word upon the matter, so that darkness, confusion, bitterness and error might be dispelled and that the truth might be seen in all it's glory.
No child of God, needs to be uncertain or in doubt about speaking openly to God, or His Son, our Savior in words of his or her own language. There is no requirement, anywhere in the Bible, that we must use Hebrew when addressing either God, or His Son, Jesus our Savior.
God's name is important! But must we, as some claim, use only the old Hebrew names when speaking to the Father and His Son?
Is salvation, or true reverence based on our use of some particular language or a certain set of sounds? Of course not! (In this case we will assume it is English for that is the language most of us claim as our own.)
We speak of the Lord God, and of Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior, all wonderful words, in the English language and fraught with meaning.
The notion that we must use only God's Hebrew names is of no ancient origin, since it was not used in New Testament times when Greek was the spoken language of Judea. Actually the use of the Hebrew names began in America less than seventy years ago, and were promoted mostly by those who adhere to the Seedline Doctrine.
At this time, proponents of this idea began to claim that it is a gross sin to use the name of Gad, or His Son, in any language but ancient Hebrew. This was made a requirement for one to enter into God's Kingdom, although no such requirement can be found anywhere in Scripture.
These have taught that the names we must use, are the Hebrew YAHWEH for God, and YASHUA, for His Son Jesus. The Hebrew word ELDHIYM, must also be used, which is the English equivalent of God.
It is showing rank disrespect for God and His Son, to use the anglicized words God and Jesus Christ. We shall see!
These same folks declare that when we pray to God or His Son, we must use the old Hebrew words in order to be heard, although they can show no Scripture to substantiate this claim. It is wrong, they say, to translate the names of the Deity into English or any other language. In other words, we may freely read and discuss our Bibles, as they are written in English or some other language, but must only use the Hebrew words when we speak of God or Jesus Christ. Some like the Assemblies of YAHWEH, in Pennsylvania, headed by the Jew Jacob Dyers, have gone so far as to Hebrews other words, turning Mary into Mariyam; Israel into Yisrael; Joseph into Yosef, and Jerusalem, into Yerusalayim. It appears to me as though the enemies of God, are trying to Judaize Identity, much as they did in Acts 15, when they taught that a man had to be circumcised before he could be saved. (See Peter's answer in verse 10.)
Using the anglicized words for God and Jesus, will keep us from salvation., they say. Even though there is no place in Scriptures which teaches this. Are the old Hebrew names the only one's acceptable to God? Is He insulted when we use His name in English? Let's look at the evidence and see.
The greatest revivals which have ever been preached in the Christian world, that have swept million's into God's Kingdom, have been preached in English, using the names God and Jesus.
The great revivals of the First Christian Century, that put the Christian church revivals of the first Christian Century, that put the Christian, church on it's feet, were preached in Greek, not Hebrew. There is no evidence that Peter on the Day of Pentecost, preached in Hebrew and used the Hebrew names for God and Jesus.
It could seem reasonable to believe that if God disapproved of His name being spoken in English, He would not have placed His obvious blessing on these great revivals.
The name YAHWEH does not convey to use the same identical meaning it did to the ancient Hebrews. I did not hear the word spoken or see it in print, until I began to rub shoulders with the Identity folks about 1980. When I heard it the first time I was not impressed with it, for it was a foreign word. I didn't even like it's sound, as it seemed harsh and guttural, when compared to the poetic beauty of the King James Version of the Bible. As far as I was concerned, it had no special meaning.
The word God on the other hand is a deeply meaningful word to me, as are the words Lord. Christ. and Father. When I think of God, I think of the Almighty Creator, and when I think of Jesus, I think of His dying on the cross for me. The word YASHUA does not fill my heart with love, warmth and gratitude.
The English word God conveys to me the meaning of the Almighty Creator, the Eternal One, the Almighty Father, the Great I Am. It means God. Think about this! I can kneel in the presence of the Heavenly Father and say, "My Father and my God," a phrase my friend and mentor, Pastor Sheldon Emry used so often in prayer. I could never receive the same blessing by praying: "YAHWEH, my ELOHIYM," for to me something special is missing. If your mind works like mine, the English words, are much more pregnant with meaning than those spoken in Hebrew, or any other language. So what was appropriate for Moses, and the Children of Israel, is apparently not appropriate for us today. Although I can see no harm in using the Hebrew words, if they are more meaningful for you. But please don't try and cram down my throat, the idea that I must use these Hebrew words in order to enjoy God's blessings for it is not true.
There are three basic assumptions behind the use of the Sacred Names. (the word assume comes from a Latin word that means, "taking on yourself a new position; taking for granted that something is true.")
The first is that Hebrew is God's language, that it is something special and holy. Yet there is no such teaching anywhere in the Bible.
The second assumption is that the New Testament was written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and that it's origins were not contaminated by Greek paganism.
The final assumption is that the correct pronunciation of YHWH has not been lost in the mists of time, but is the same today, as when it was used by Abraham 3900 years ago.
If any of these assumptions can be proven untrue, the doctrine of the Sacred Names will crumble.
Most Sacred Name proponents believe that Hebrew was a special language - the language God used when He spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai; that God has chosen and ordained Hebrew to be the language of His people Israel. Therefore they consider it to be a sin to translate God's Hebrew names into English or any other language, because this causes it to become paganized.
This question follows - is Hebrew God's specially ordained language, or was it normal, humanly developed language which just happened to be in use in the area where God's chosen, Israel moved?
All authorities on linguistics and archeology agree that Hebrew was never an isolated Divine language, which was spoken only by the Israel people. The question is, do we have Scriptural authority to make such a statement? I believe we do. Hebrew was exactly what the Prophet Isaiah called it in Isaiah 19:18 - "In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to Yahweh of hosts."
Hebrew was known as the language of Canaan, although there were many minor dialectical variations between Phoenician, the language of Tyre, Sidon, and Gegal, and the language of the Ganaanites who lived in the land Israel was to occupy, it was also a universal language among other nations in the area, much as English is recognized today worldwide. These people could converse freely with another without the need of an interpreter, as they needed when they were in Egypt.
By reading ancient history in your Bible, from the moment Israel entered into Canaan under Joshua, there was a problem with them understanding the Canaanite language. They conversed freely with each other. The magazine "BIBLICAL ARCHEOLOGY" has clearly proven that the people of Palestine spoke Hebrew or the equivalent of Hebrew in ancient times.
One of the common Old Testament names for God in Hebrew was EL. EL creates some what of a problem for the Sacred Name folks, because it was used by the heathen Canaanites, long before Israel arrived in the land.
It is well known that Moses penned the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch, and in the cuneiform religious tablets which have been excavated in old Canaan. EL was designated over and over as the head of many gods worshipped by the heathen Canaanites. EL was the husband of Asherah, and the father of all the Canaanite gods. If it is wrong to use God's English name, because it was used by the Druids of Britain in their heathen worship, then it is also wrong to use the name ELOHIYM.
The word ELOHIYM is used some 244 times throughout the inspired Old Testament in reference to pagan gods. This usage by the Holy Spirit should show us that it is permissible to use the words God and Jesus, in English, when we refer to the Father and His Son. It is the meaning of the words that are important, not their spelling or pronunciation.
The Sacred Name advocates avoid the use of the word LORD, and this is curious, because the Old Testament which seems to be the favorite with most Sacred Name folks, calls YAHWEH LORD on several occasions, (see Ezekiel 2:4). In this verse the Hebrew words YAHWEH and ADONAI (Lord), are used together to form the four letter title LORD.
Since the Old Testament uses the Hebrew word EL for God and ADONAI, for Lord, how can it be wrong for us to use these same titles today?
EL, or YAHWEH, or AD NAI means little to millions of born again Christians who have never heard them called these names, while GOD and LORD have profound meaning to many English speaking peoples.
The SACRED Name people love to quote Hosea 2:15,17 - as proof that it is an abomination to the Almighty to call Him LORD - "And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou (Israel) shalt call me Ishi (Hebrew for husband); and shalt call me no more Baali (Lord). For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name."
This passage clearly shows that a day will come, when the LORD's people (Israel) will no longer refer to Him as (Baal! - Lord), but will call Him ISHI (my husband). Yet I have never heard a Yahwehite go about speaking of the Almighty as ISHI, or praying to ISHI for guidance and protection.
BAAL in English is not LORD, it is BAAL a heathen god. In Hebrew it had many compound forms, just as YAHWEH does. For proof that the Almighty has done exactly what he said he would do, He had taken the name BAALIM out of our mouths, and in English it has been replaced by LORD (the equivalent in Hebrew to ISHI - my husband).
Although most of the Old Testament was inspired in Hebrew, Daniel and Esra, wrote their books in Aramaic, which was the language of the Persian Empire, and which replaced Hebrew as the spoken language of the Middle East.
No where in any Aramaic or Syriac manuscripts can you find the words YHWH or ELOHIYM used.
Those who have examined these ancient manuscripts tell us that in dozens of places, the writers in Aramaic and Syriac, rendered the Hebrew words for GOD into the Aramaic word ELAH. This is proof, that the Holy Spirit approves the translation of the HEBREW name for GOD into the language spoken by His people. What about the New Testament, the New Covenant GOD was to make with His Israel people? The original inspired language of the New Testament was Greek, not Hebrew. Greek was the Universal language and was largely accepted as the language at the time of Christ, just as English is accepted now. Most of the New Testament was written by the Apostle Paul. He was the apostle sent by GOD to the so called GENTILES, which is the Greek word ETHNOS, meaning TRIBES or NATIONS and refers to the tribes of Israel who had been taken captive into Assyria, and escaped to settle in Asia Minor. Bible readers are sometimes confused as to why the Apostle Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel in Asia. (Acts 16:6,7) But Paul had a vision in which a man from Macedonia, in Asia Minor said: "Come over into Macedonia and help us!" Why Macedonia instead of Asia? It is quite understandable if you think about it. For many of the Israelites who had escaped from Assyria, had settled there.
Remember how when Jesus first sent His disciples out with the Kingdom message He told them to go only to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel"? These Israelites in Asia Minor heard the Kingdom message spoken in Greek, where Christ was called IESOUS (Jesus), not the Hebrew YASHUA.
The people Paul preached to did not speak Hebrew, and I sincerely doubt that he paused in mid-sentence, to switch from Greek to Hebrew, when he came to the name of God or Jesus. There is no scriptural evidence that he used the Hebrew words YAHWEH or YASHUA.
The other inspired writers of the New Testament, also wrote and spoke in Greek, so it is very unlikely that they used the Hebrew words for God and His Son, Jesus. There is no scriptural evidence of this, and it is only an assumption on the part of those who teach this doctrine. This should give them no scriptural authority to condemn those of us who use the English words. (This does not hold true of all who advocate using the Sacred Names, and I have many good and highly respected friends, who hold this stand. They respect my use of the English words, as I do theirs in Hebrew.) As I stated before, the purpose of this article is not to sow bitterness or dissent, but to explain truthfully my stand on the subject of the Sacred Names. I pray that I will not have to say as the Apostle Paul did to the church at Galatia, Galations 4:16 - "Am I therefore become your enemy; because I tell you the truth?" I want you to hear the facts from me, not from some second hand source.
In the face of all available facts, and to defend their stand, the SACRED NAME people must deny that the New Testament was written in Greek and wrongly assert it was written in Aramaic, some even say Hebrew.
At the time of the New Testament translation they claim the sacred Hebrew names were changed to pagan Greek ones. Tire burden of proof lies on their shoulders, and they cannot logically or scripturally defend this contention.
The Aramaic Version of the New Testament available today, is clearly a later translation taken from the inspired Greek. The only copies of the original New Testament writings have been preserved in Greek, not in Aramaic or Hebrew. No one can produce and original New Testament manuscript written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, for there are none.
There is no doubt that the Greek of the New Testament is inspired by God, for it is perfect in every way, including numerology. The Greek f word KURIOS is used in the New Testament when quoting from the Old and demonstrates without the shadow of a doubt, that it is permissible to translate the names and titles of God and His Son from Hebrew into the language spoken by the people.
Since the New Testament was as much God inspired as the Old, we r know the word IESOUS is correctly translated from the Hebrew YASHUA. The numerical design in the Greek New Testament, is not a mere curiosity. We find the numeric value of the Greek name IESOUS (Jesus) to be 888. Eight is the symbolic number of the New Covenant and stands for resurrection and regeneration. In Isaiah 53:10 it states: "all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God." The numeric value of this salvation is 888 in Greek, the same as for the name of Christ. Indicating to me that it is correct to call His name Jesus. When the angel Gabriel spoke to Joseph, the foster father of Jesus in Matthew 1:21 he told him: "And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name IEOSUS (Jesus, not YASHUA), for He shall save his people (Israel) from their sins." That is the meaning of IEOSUS in Greek, SALVATION.
Examples such as this can be found hundreds of times until it becomes obvious that this was by Divine arrangement, for no other Greek writings can be found with this numerical design.
Can you not understand by this, that IEOSUS is the inspired name of Jesus in Greek? In English we have the name Joshua that comes from Hebrew, and Jesus is the same. Both Jesus and IOSUS have the same meaning - Savior! They are blessed names, no matter in which language they are used, and you should be blessed by using them in your own language.
While Hebrew was the language chosen by God, to give His revelation of truth to His Israel people in the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, Greek was used by God to reach the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." (This does not refer to unsaved Jews as many pastors will tell you, for the Greek word for LOST, is APPOLUMI, which means: "Those banished for their disobedience," and this applies only to the Israelites who were sent into captivity in Assyria along with most of the Judeans.
With an honest reading of the New Testament it becomes evident that the time for Hebrew to be used by Israel passed with the Old Covenant. It's use, no matter what the opinions and efforts of men, will never return again. The Hebrew language and the Old Covenant are inextricably and forever linked. But in the final analysis, we find Hebrew no different from any other language, and it most definitely is not now or ever has been the language of heaven.
God is a Spirit, and the language of heaven is neither Hebrew, Greek, or English. It is a spiritual language that can only be understood by the Spirit. We get a hint of what this language is like in Romans 8:26, where the Apostle Paul said: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (The word groanings in Greek is TENAZO, and means "an inaudible prayer.") The language of the Spirit is a communication of mind with mind, as the Holy Spirit communicates with us in a realm far beyond any language of man. (It most definitely is not the "glossalalia" of the Pentecostal folks.)
To speak of God as having names in the sense which men have names, is to limit Him as though He were a man. He is an Infinite Spirit who had deigned to reveal the many sides of His nature to men and women, so that it is understood in any language.
A SECOND WITNESS.
The Bible indicates that wherever possible we should have a second witness , to back our contentions. As 1 was composing this message, 1 received a copy of a letter from Pastor Charles Kuehler, a long time friend and pastor of the Virginia Christian Israelites, (P.O. Box 209, Round Hill, VA 22114) which he had written to an Identity brother who questioned his use of the English names for God and Jesus. His answer was a confirmation as far as I was concerned for me to write this message to you. I will quote only parts off his answer.
Dear Brother: I thank you for the information you sent last month on our use of Sacred Names.
As you recognized, I do not use the name YAHWEH (derived from the Hebrew Tetragrammation). I have in the past been criticized for using the spelling YAHWEH, rather than that which some prefer as YAHVEH. I have studied the usage and deviations and prefer YAHWEH. I do not fault others who prefer whatever names they wish to use, but am rather rigid in my usage. I have seen other names such as JEOVAH, YAHVWEH, JAH, YAH, and so forth. I also use the names LORD, (Capitalized) and God, and while I use those names, I am referring to the One Almighty who is also called YAHWEH. The Father knows what is in my heart, when I use the terms LORD and GOD. (He can also be called the I AM of Exodus 3:14) I also use the name Jesus Christ, to indicate the only begotten Son of God, our Savior. If I am in the presence of those who use what they call the Sacred Names, I prefer YASHUAH. It appears to me that there is a greater disagreement on this then on the name of the FATHER. What is wrong with JESUS?
It is English, and I believe this is the language most of God's people speak. For those who insist on Hebrew, I would point out that the New Testament was written in Greek, so why not use Greek? The Jews (especially the Zionist rabble) love to see the name JESUS discredited and eliminated from common use, and are always in the forefront of such attacks.
Perhaps the main reason I use the name Jesus Christ is because everyone knows whom I am referring to. There are a lot of milk Christians (1 Corinthians 3:1,2 and Hebrews 5:12-15) who are unable to handle strong meat. We are warned against sowing confusion among the brethren and many do not understand the true Gospel message. By using and insisting on the use of the Sacred Names in Hebrew, we may sow confusion and have some neophytes thinking we are some sort of cult.
I don't seem to remember the Apostles, and even the Messiah Himself, restricting their message based on individual knowledge, and if anything, they were bringing the Kingdom message to those who had never heard it before.
The biggest opposition to our Savior and His Apostles, came from the religious leaders and I think this is still true today. Isn't it more important to reach His lost sheep, rather than confuse them with our supposed superior knowledge?
I have not seen where the use of the Sacred Names, has resulted in a more harmonious accord among our people and those who demand it's use.
We have some preachers, Bible researchers, and others who use the Sacred Names, and we do not frown on, or forbid their use.
As long as something is done in a proper manner and with a sincere attitude of fear and respect for both the Father and the Son, we find it acceptable.
I hope you understand why we do certain things with regards to the use of these names. We mean no disrespect for either the Father or the Son, and we surely do not wish to promote animosity among our people.
Sincerely in the service of YAHWEH God,
Signed: Chuck Kuehier, Pastor
Virginia Christian Israelites
Thank you Pastor Kuehler for allowing me to use this clear message of your belief. I am behind you 100%.
I hope this brief dissertation has cleared up in your minds why I seldom use the old Hebrew names of God and Jesus. I am an American and my language is English, so I worship and commune with my Savior and my God, in the language He has assigned to us. Please do not break fellowship with me, because I do not speak to them in a foreign language.
Your brother and servant in the service of Christ the King,