The Name of God
The Hebrew scriptures asserts that God’s name is Jehovah or Yahweh.
“Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”
– Psalms 83:18
While Jesus prayed that the Father’s name be sanctified (Matthew 6:9) and stated that he had made the Father’s name known (John 17:25), the Christian scriptures do not record Jesus as ever speaking the name, though the assumption is that Jesus must have spoken the name when he quoted from Hebrew scriptures containing the name. Thus, we believe Jesus meant that he increased the fame of God, not necessarily the literal name.
And it is not hard to understand why Jesus would not encourage his followers to use a literal name for God since Jesus’ mission was to reveal God as our heavenly Father. Notice his model prayer. While he says to pray for God’s name to be sanctified, he did not use the name.
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
– Matthew 6:9-15
These points are not meant to discourage the use of the Hebrew name for God. It is quite appropriate for friends and associates to refer to someone by name. But it is not appropriate for sons and daughters. It is even considered disrespectful. The Father’s spirit that dwells within His children moves us to cry out Father or Abba! which means ‘Daddy!’ or ‘Papa!’
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
– Romans 8:14-16
“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
– Galatians 4:6-7
So while God was revealed to the Hebrews by a name, Jesus revealed God to us, His faith-sons and daughters, by relationship – as our Father.