The Pope, or at least the Vatican, has come out with new directives for worship eliminating the use of Yahweh in songs. This sparked an interesting conversation I had about the appropriateness of speaking the Tetragrammaton יּﬣוּﬣ,YHVH, for Christians. One friend said that Jesus would never have said it, being a good Jew. I think there is no record of Jesus ever addressing the Father by this name. But what does this mean? Was Jesus showing us that we could call God, Father, but should not speak His most holy NAME? And what is the relationship of יּﬣוּﬣ to the Name which is above all names? Moreover, if Jesus never addressed the Father as יּﬣוּﬣ, why not?
To me the answer is obvious. יּﬣוּﬣ is not the Father's name. It is God's name. Jesus, as God incarnate, would also be the proper recipient of that name. He would be addressing Himself as much as the Father, so the more intimate title and the one which distinguishes the Son from the Father, is used. Jesus is יּﬣוּﬣ. He has to be יּﬣוּﬣ. It would be impossible for the Father to be known as יּﬣוּﬣ unless the Son were not included.
As to the first of these statements Christians need look no further than John 8:58: “Before Abraham was I AM". Here the Jewish respect for not speaking the NAME is blown out of the water as Jesus clearly identifies himself with that NAME. If Jesus says that he is the One who IS then it is only logical, emphasis on the logos, that He means to be identified by the Name that says the same thing.
But why do I say that it is impossible for Jesus not to be יּﬣוּﬣ?
When this Name was revealed to Moses, who revealed it? Was it an angel, like that which Muhammad claimed to give him the revelation from Allah? No, it was God Himself who revealed His Name. But as Christians we know that no one has ever seen God except through the Son. The Father is invisible, and I would add inaudible. He is beyond the realm of our senses, as our senses only register material things. Jesus is the Incarnation of God the Son so that we created beings can see God with our eyes and hear Him with our ears.
So Who really was Moses hearing when he was given the Name? Logically, it was the One who makes God known and knowable. It was the Son. God, the Holy Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was, through the Son, revealing His Name, a Name which distinguishes Him from all creation. He alone is the great I AM. All other beings have a beginning and their being is dependent upon their Creator. Not so with God. He eternally is. The Father is. The Son is. The Spirit is. יּﬣוּﬣ is not the Name of the Father only. It is not the name of the Son only, or of the Spirit only. It is the name of GOD.
But there is another name by which we know God. But this is a name which tells us how He relates to us. This name is Jesus, which lexically means “the Lord saves”. This name is really no less intimate than יּﬣוּﬣ. Rather, it is more intimate. This makes Rome's decision to forbid use of Yahweh in worship entirely appropriate for perfectly Christian reasons. Why address God by a Name which separates Him from us when we have a name, which is above all other names, and which shows that transcendent Lord as One who comes down to us? The common use of Yahweh becomes, from this perspective, a use of a more transcendent name but without the proper respect and awe that should accompany that. If we want to express God's intimacy with us and our intimacy with Him then we should use the Name by which he intended before all time to be known to us as Savior and as Friend.