How Shall we Call Him?
The Names Dilemma
December, 2011 REVIEWED 2023
Having been studying from a Hebraic perspective now for nearly 12 years, we still recognize the ongoing dilemma of how we are to identify, speak of, and address our Elohim, the God of Israel; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As American Christians, the usual way to address Him has been as Lord or Father and most definitely as God. There is also the concern on how to address our Messiah, whom we have called Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
On the one hand, we are grateful for His grace, and know that He will honor the hearts of those who genuinely call on His Name, however they understand it to be called or pronounced. On the other hand, we do NOT think that this means that any name associated with a "god" will do!
We have understood that "Lord" is a title, and not a name and could accurately be applied to satan or anyone in authority. We have understood that the generic term "God" also has a set of meanings that we did not intend to convey if we addressed Him that way.
For those of us who have understood that we are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel we do know without a doubt that our Mighty One is the Mighty One of Israel. Yet as we have embraced our identity realizing that we have been grafted in to the tree of Israel by faith, an identity crisis and how to "call" on Him has arisen.
Since we are part of the family of the children of Israel, does this mean that we need to do as our brother, Judah, commonly known as "the Jews," have done? This of course, would only address how to call on God the Father, as orthodox Jews do not accept Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. And that is a very hot topic as well!
Having come to faith under the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, do we now have to abandon that Name all together? If we do, how do we know which way to say or spell it is correct? Does it really matter?
We have had a statement on our website for many years now about the use of the Name of Jesus or any of the various ways of transliterating His Hebrew name into English. This statement was established because of the controversy over how it is done, especially when we learned that one particular way of transliterating it carried an entire message that we had not realized it did! Nor did we want to be associated with the entire belief system it seems to represent.
It became evident some time ago, too, that we needed to be certain to declare that we do believe Jesus/Yeshua to be one with the Father as that is also a hot topic, though not a new one by any means!
Recently, it became apparent to us that we also needed to make a decision how we wanted to refer to our Elohim within our community. Did we want to follow the Jewish tradition or what we understood Scripture to say? Their traditional use of substitute identifying words or titles is deeply engrained to the point that to do otherwise around Jewish people is considered shameful, disrespectful, and maybe even evil! I have even read lately that someone would doubt another's true identity as a Jewish person if they DIDN'T use the substitute terms.
Some would say that concern over how we call on Him is becoming legalistic or "over the top." Yet we do want to honor Him as our eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent One. We see that there has been a "too casual" approach to our set apart Mighty One and have not wanted to participate in such undue familiarity, remembering that we are but dust, and that it is only by His grace that we could stand at all!
Ever striving to find the correct path, we have posted here a new companion statement that addresses our concern about how we call on our heavenly Father to supplement what we have already observed about the use of the Name of our Messiah. We continue to view ourselves as Torah pursuant, seeking His righteousness, willing to study and learn what we need to know as we all grow up into Messiah Yeshua, our Head.
We post this information here in the hope that it will also help others to work through these concerns in a way that is pleasing to our Elohim, the Mighty One of Israel.
Each statement is a living document, open to revision as our understanding may increase.