We find in Genesis 1 through the six days of creation it was Elohim - the all-powerful sovereign God. We find that on the seventh day Elohim has done His work already and turns the remaining tasks of completing the renovation of earth and forming of man to Jehovah.
The character of Jehovah represents YHWH the Lord. In Hebrew, the word Jehovah (JeHoWaH) is the tetragrammaton that became the artificial Latinized name Jehovah (JeHoWaH). The meaning of the personal name of the Israelite God has been variously interpreted. Many scholars believe that the most proper meaning may be “He Brings into Existence Whatever Exists” (Yahweh-Asher-Yahweh). In Genesis 2:4 “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God (Jehovah) made the earth and the heavens,” We find that the second name given to God is Jehovah signifying His Lordship, master and relational God.
One of the most important things we need to understand it is in the names of God where He reveals Himself to humanity. Understanding His name and the context by which He uses it in scripture convey the purpose of what He wants to tell us. It is in the name that we know which part of God we need to address. God deals with us in this physical realm on an individual basis and we must address Him on the individual relationship basis we need to address God. We can only understand that by understanding the name of God, what the name of God means, what the scripture is telling us, and coming to understand how God thinks. His thinking is tied to the names used in the scriptures.
The first name we identified was the all-powerful God – the creator – Elohim. In this role God is supreme power and sovereign. There are two names God uses that are core to the relationship God wanted with humanity at creation and formation of man. The first is Jehovah.
It is the name of Jehovah that, as humans, we develop relationships with the Lord God (Jehovah). However, any picture that we come up in our minds or draw will be inconsistent with the reality of God and all the roles He fulfills as God. Exodus 20:4 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” This means that whatever any individual has portrayed as a picture of God they have violated Exodus 20:4 and have sinned against the Lord God. God cannot be represented by picture. It is only through relationships with God that we get to understand who and what He is.
The only way to understand who and what God is we must first get to know Him personally. In order to do that we must accept God as God and accept His Son as our redemption savior for our sins. At that point when we communicate with God, He will reveal Himself to us through His name, scriptures and the environment we live in. One of the best ways to discover God’s names is to need Him and through that need God reveals Himself in meeting that need. God, being a relational God, wants us to experience His name and Him not just to know what His name means.
In Exodus 3:2 “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” Moses saw God in a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. That is contradictory. Moses upon seeing this turns and begins to respond to the contradiction and when he does God tells Moses in Exodus 3:4-5 “And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” God commands Moses to do a mighty task in going to Pharoah and telling Pharoah to let God’s people go. This perplexed Moses. Moses who had been wondering in the wilderness for forty years due to being exiled from Egypt for trying to get the Hebrews freed was being sent back to tell the person who exiled him to let God’s people go! We learn from this part of history that when we have conversations with God that to us do not make sense take note. In those times God is about to reveal something about Himself we have not seen before.
Moses enters into a dialog with God in Exodus 3:10-15 “10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.”
Moses must have thought God was crazy. What is in the name I AM? However, this phrase was a sacred phrase to the Israelite's. I AM was made up in Hebrew language of four (4) consonants that could not be pronounced but when Hebrew added vowels to the consonants it derived the name of Yahweh. It is when Yahweh gets translated into the English language it is translated as Jehovah. So in translating things backwards to Hebrew we get from the English translation Jehovah to Yahweh to the four Hebrew consonant letters that could not be pronounced without vowels and when you remove the vowels you get the name in Hebrew that God called Himself in Exodus 10:14 to Moses.
The reason the name Jehovah is such a sacred name is because it is the name God gave to Himself when He revealed Himself to Moses. What makes this name God’s favorite name? This name is used close to 7,000 times in the Old Testament to define who God is. One may ask how would we know this name is being used when we us our English translation Bible? You will know when the name of Jehovah is being used when the scripture spells the name LORD (all capital letters). The majority of time when we go back to translate the word in Hebrew, we get Yahweh.
The name I AM or Jehovah is the name of God uses in scripture when He wants to reveal Himself to us. He wants to get closer to a relationship with us when He uses this name. I AM THAT I AM is not something that humanity can call itself because we were created by I AM. I AM THAT I AM brings together five concepts in this phrase as told to us in Hebrew scripture.
Self-sufficiency. I AM it means God does not have to go outside of Himself to exist. He is sufficient because all He needs is within Himself.
Self-existent. I AM means God is because He is. Humanity is not self-existent because we need things in our daily lives to function – air, water, food, sleep, etc. God need nothing to function. Whatever He needs He provides Himself. We, as humans are always trying to be someone or become someone. God does not have to do any of those things. He is.
Eternality. I AM means God is eternal. I AM speaks of God in present tense, not I was or I will be but I AM. God has no past or future. He lives in the present for perpetuity. Humanity has a problem in relating to this because, as humans, we have a past (yesterday), a present (today), and a future (tomorrow). God has none of these things. God only speaks to humanity through scripture in these terms so that He speaks in a manner by which we can understand. God is forever in an eternal state and everything about Him s in the present (now). So when God speaks to us in our language about something that will happen in the future, we must believe it because God, being in the present at all times, has already been there and come back to our time to tell us about it.
Personal. I AM means God is personal, a God that wants and planned for a relationship with humanity.
Self-defined. I AM mean God defines Himself. No one other than God can define who and what God is. Just like God tells humanity that no one controls humans other than themselves. No person can tell you who or what you are. We through our minds and knowledge of God create the person we wish us to be. This is even more present with God. No one can tell us who or what God is. God is a personal God. He wants to have an individual relationship with every human. Therefore, God will be to individuals what those individual needs at that time. God presents His whole self to us but we grab what we need for that time and period of our need.
The name of Jehovah is revealed through the intersections of life we experience. In Genesis 2 God (Elohim) combines this power name with LORD (Jehovah). In Genesis 2:4 “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,” Why did God add the two names together to represent Him? God combines the names Yahweh (YHWH) and Elohim because He is telling us that we cannot get Elohim supreme power (SOVEREIGNTY) until we first create and maintain a relationship with God through Jehovah.