God Is Not God’s Name
God is not God's name. That’s right - the God of the Universe has a name, but “God” isn’t it. “God” is what God is. “Human being” is not your name; “human being” is what you are. You also have a name. Whether it is “Barbara” or “Ken,” “Tom” or “Debbie,” you have your own personal name. So does God.
“And what is God's name?” Glad you asked. This writing will help you to recognize the answer.
Before we get too deep into things, here are some hints to get you started. You already know God’s name. Oh, yes, there are many names people have given to God, but He/She picked one and only one for Him/Herself. God’s Real name is the same for all people everywhere, and it doesn’t matter which religion or cultural heritage you are from! Truth transcends all boundaries we seek to erect. And no matter who you are or where you are from, you have known this Name from the day your mind first began to awake. You see it and hear it each and every day.
The problem with God is not that He’s so far away that we can’t see Him; rather, He is so close that we overlook Him. Our quest for God is just like fish in search of water; so don’t be surprised if you start to recognize God’s name everywhere.
Helping you do that is the purpose of this writing.
But God’s Real name is not in this document! How’s that for strange? Most of this document is about God’s personal name, which reveals His Real name. God’s Real name can’t be written down in any document.
That’s all the introduction you get.
The Biblical Record
In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious/cultural tradition, spanning several millennia and the vast majority of the western world, there is only one acknowledged personal name for God. There are many descriptions (the Almighty, the Beneficent, etc.) but only one personal name of God. The Islamic tradition speaks of the “100 names of Allah,” but they are actually titles. The word “Allah” is Arabic for “God,” which is English for the Hebrew word “Elohim.”
In the vast entirety of the world’s religions, there is no revelation or rationalization of God so clear and powerful as the Name He spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai. And this personal name is directly related to God’s Real name.
In short, the Name God revealed to Moses is the most powerful religious truth in the world, a huge canopy under which all other religions and truths reside.
So enough already! What is this name?
Moses asked the very same question, and you can find it in your Bible, the third chapter of Exodus:
1 Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.
3 So Moses said, “I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 Then God said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
6 He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 And the Lord said, “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.
8 “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perrizite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
9 “And now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.
10 “Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM;” and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
15 And God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”
There you have it: God’s personal name, as we translate its meaning in English, is “I am that I am.” Here are some other ways it has been translated:
He who is
The self-existent one
He who is ever becoming what He is
Is-ness is is-ness
That may not seem like it says very much, but that’s because it is a statement of infinite truth.
God’s name, the I AM, reveals the fullness of His nature. All of God’s nature and attributes are embodied in His name. But at first, it seems like air to a bird. “So what's the big deal?” Read on, because we will show you just how big a deal it is, and what it means for you.
First off, we’re going to need a brief lesson in linguistics. This may seem confusing, but this is very important. It goes like this:
To translate is to explain the meaning of one language using the words of another.
To transliterate is to spell a word using the letters of another language.
“I Am” is the English translation of the meaning of God’s personal name. The English transliteration of God's personal name is YHWH.
The four Hebrew letters transliterated YHWH are:
, or Yod, rhymes with rode, which we transliterate “Y”
, or He, rhymes with say, which we transliterate “H”
, or Vav, like lava, which we transliterate “W” or “V”
a second He
Three thousand years ago, the original Hebrew didn't have any vowels, and was written right to left
God’s name, as written in Hebrew right to left:
Spelled left to right:
Transliterated into English: YHWH
With vowels added: YAHWEH
Translated: I AM WHO I AM
There. Now you have all the tools you'll need.
You’ve heard the saying, “The more things change the more they stay the same.” That’s certainly true here. No matter what language you use, whether you translate, transliterate, or what direction you spell it, YHWH's name means “I am that I am.” And, it directly points to His Real name, which is the same in all languages.
For the remainder of this document, we will discuss why this is so important. Just what does “I AM” tell us about YHWH? What are we overlooking?
Next, once we know more about the meaning of “I AM,” we will look at the power and uses of names in general, and how they apply to the specific case of YHWH. Then, knowing the possibilities inherent in the personal name, we’ll remove the final veil to see the Real name, and apply what we have learned about YHWH to His Real name. Finally, we will finish with some practical considerations and exercises to help this all sink in and become increasingly real.
That's when the fun starts. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a fish that enjoyed drinking water as much as most people enjoy eating ice cream? Can you imagine what it would be like to gain a euphoric high just from breathing air? If YHWH is really everywhere, can you imagine what it would be like to find delight in that Presence?
What “I AM” tells us about God
Stating it boldly, YHWH’s name, the “I AM,” reveals the fullness of His being. All of His nature and attributes are embodied in His name. Rather than a cryptic mystery, “I AM” tells us everything that can be known about YHWH.
The main concept here has to do with the elusive term “being.” Some things “are,” while other things “are not.” If you want a fancy word, this is an ontological issue.
Let’s use the example of a coin. It exists, right? Right. And coins have two sides - heads and tails. The sides are opposite but equal, in that both exist. Philosophers say that “heads” and “tails” have the same ontological status, which is a convenient way to say that they both exist in the same degree and the same manner.
What other opposites have equal ontological status? Let’s try these:
• Left and right
• North and south
• Front and back
• Male and female
• Open and closed
• Sweet and sour
However, there are many pairs of opposites that do not share the same ontological status. For instance,
• Light and dark
Surprised? Light and dark are two seemingly opposite states, but they are not ontologically equivalent in the same way that heads and tails are. Why not? Because light IS. Darkness is not. Light IS. Light is an energy that can be measured, quantified, analyzed, seen and felt. Darkness is simply the absence of light.
“Heads” is real. So is “tails,” and equally so. Tails is more than the absence of heads. Erase all the designs on the heads side and the tails side remains the same. But when you remove all the light, what is left?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. We call the nothing “darkness.”
Light IS. Darkness is the absence of what is. Darkness is not. YHWH is Light. YHWH IS.
1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is Light; in Him there is no darkness at all.”
This can be a very difficult concept to grasp, but since it is so very important, we’re trying to be as clear as possible, even at the risk of redundancy. Let’s try this one more way.
Imagine yourself in a pitch-dark room. Flip the switch and light floods the room; an actual energy appears. Photons (stuff light is made of) stream out of the bulb and illumine the room. Flip the switch again, and the photons disappear. It’s not as though something different is now coming out of the bulb. “Darktons” are not darkening the room the way the photons were lighting it before – it’s just that the photons are gone!
No one on Earth knows what light actually is - we know it moves in waves, and we know it is made of particles. We also know that particles cannot move in waves and that waves cannot contain particles! But that’s the best we know about what light is. Whatever light is, it IS!
“I AM THAT I AM.” God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all!
Two more points about this light and dark business:
First, there is an absolute limit to darkness: 0 (zero) photons present. Light, however, has no limitation. There is no theoretical limit to the number of photons that can be present in a given space. Go to the center of a star and you will find a whole bunch of 'em. In other words, pitch dark is the zero point, and light grows to infinity. This is a statement of quantity.
Second is a statement of quality. While pitch dark has only one color and one shape (nothing and none), light has an infinite realm of possibilities for different colors and shapes. God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
If you are comfortable with this concept, you can begin to see very deeply into the meaning of “I AM THAT I AM,” and why we say that all of YHWH’s nature and attributes are embodied in His name.
Let’s look at some other ontological opposites to see if YHWH is revealed by the one that IS:
• Life and death. YHWH is life. Life, whatever life is, IS. Death is simply the absence of life.
• Truth and falsehood. YHWH is truth. Truth is a statement of what IS. Falsehood is a statement of what is not.
• YHWH is light (energy/matter). Energy IS, and light is just one form of energy. Matter IS another form of energy. We can change matter to energy and vice versa, but the total amount of energy/matter can't be changed. It IS, and it is YHWH.
In these few paragraphs we have seen that the personal name of God, YHWH, I AM WHO I AM, embodies all matter, energy, life, and truth.
But there is more. Much more.
Remember that one of the ways YHWH has been translated is “the self-existent one.” What does this mean?
Something is self-existent if it can exist all by itself, without any dependencies whatsoever. Everything we encounter in life is dependent on something else. Life needs air. Air needs molecules. Molecules need molecular cohesion. Molecular cohesion needs…and so on. Where does the chain of dependency end? What is the “ontological anchor” of the Universe?
YHWH, the I AM THAT I AM, creator of the Universe, depends only on Himself for existence. He is the source and origin of all that exists. In Him we live and move and have our being.
This is why we can say that all of YHWH's nature and attributes are embodied in His name. He is the ultimate ground; we are the figures. He is infinite subject; we are object. He is the source; we are the proceeds. God, the creator of the Universe, IS. And that is-ness is not dependent on any other reality.
“Ani” is Hebrew for I Am. Throughout the Bible you see (in most translations) the phrase “I am the LORD.” In Hebrew, the phrase is “Ani YHWH.” “Behold, I AM THE I AM.”
Names in general
Let’s talk about names in general, and see what more we can learn about YHWH from His name.
1. Points, refers and distinguishes
A name refers to what or who is named, and in so doing distinguishes different objects/people one from another. If many people are in a room and you say, “Please come here, Paul Smith III,” people will know who you’re talking to because of the name you used. “Paul Smith III” refers (usually) to only one person, and you are able to linguistically “point” your request to just one person by means of that person’s name. Assuming the name is specific enough (Paul Smith III instead of Mr. Smith), you will be able to point to the one person you want.
YHWH points exactly to the creator. And in that He is one without a second, it is a name above all names.
2. Brings to mind
If you announced to the same room full of people, “Miss Wanda Jones will be arriving shortly,” you have referred to someone who is not present. Thus, a second power of names is that they enable us to bring to mind or remember someone who is not currently with us.
But YHWH is everywhere. What if His name could be forever on your mind? What if you could see it everywhere you go? Wouldn't it be wondrous to be able to be continuously aware of the Divine Presence?
3. Personal history
If you know my name, you can find out virtually everything about me. There might be some secrets, and uncovering some facts may take a while, but once you know my name, my life becomes an open book. You can find where I live, work, how much money I have, where and when I was born, etc.
YHWH has revealed His name to us. His life is now an open book, ready for whoever wants to read it.
4. Power and authority
Names contain power and authority. The legal and moral claims to your life are embodied in your name. And if you assign your name to me through a piece of paper called ‘power of attorney,’ I can use all your money, sell your house, and make far-reaching decisions about your life.
YHWH has revealed His name to us. What is more, He has given it to us to use.
All of the things I have done and said (which you discovered in your investigation of my history) reflect upon my “good name.” My name encapsulates all thoughts, impressions, remembrances and feelings about me. Reputation and name go hand in hand.
Everything we know and feel about YHWH is embodied in His name.
6. Summary: Re-presents what is named
“What’s in a name?”
In the realm of language, your name is a perfect image of you. Your name embodies all of your history, personality, and fortune. It encompasses all of the thoughts, feelings and impressions others have about you. Your name represents you. It re-presents you. It presents you again to the world.
YHWH's name is His image. It presents Him to the world. His personal name, which you now know, is His image of reflection in the realm of language. His Real name, which you have always known, is His image in the world.
It's time to talk about the Real name of YHWH.
The Real Name of YHWH
The real name of YHWH has been known for thousands of years. It’s all in the spelling.
To review, God's personal name is YHWH, the English transliterations of the Hebrew letters
Hebrew is spelled right to left, so when the ancient scribes wrote God's name they wrote it
But YHWH wrote His own name!!! Where? And how did He write it?
We will tell you how He wrote it, and then you’ll know where.
When YHWH wrote His name, He didn't spell it left to right or right to left. He spelled it top to bottom. Like this:
But YHWH didn’t use a pen or paper. And He didn’t use a rock.
What, then? He used flesh and bone!! And He spelled YHWH like this:
The Yod is your head; the He is your arms, the Vav is your torso. The second He is your legs. You have been created in the image of YHWH. You have been created in the image of
You are God’s name! You are a miniature YHWH!!
Revisiting the ‘names in general’ section
Remember where we talked about names in general, and what they helped us to know about YHWH? Now that you know you are God’s name, let’s review!
1. Points, refers and distinguishes
YHWH points exactly to the creator. In that He is one without a second, it is a name above all names. You are one without a second! You are the crowning achievement of YHWH's creation. You point to Him.
2. Brings to mind
YHWH is everywhere. Every person you see is a walking, talking YHWH! We are continually reminded of His presence by those around us. When we recognize YHWH’s Real name, we can indeed see Him everywhere.
3. Personal history
YHWH has revealed His name to us. His life is now an open book, ready for whoever wants to read it. Knowing this Real name is a sacred trust.
The Calling realizes that for many, all of this is too unbelievable to be true. However, the realization of the Real name of YHWH has been known for thousands of years. Only a select few have been allowed to know. Now, you know. YHWH is now an open book to you. All aspects of life, religion, and science are embodied in this name. And embodied in you.
4. Power and authority
YHWH has revealed His name to us. He has given it to us to use. Even more, He has given it to us to be!!
Everything we know and feel about YHWH is embodied in His name. Everything we feel and know about YHWH is the result of interactions we have had with His representatives. Those who give to YHWH give to humankind, and vice versa.
6. Summary: Re-presents what is named
YHWH's name is His image. It presents Him to the world. You are YHWH's name. You are created in the image of YHWH. This is not chance. This is not a game. This is not something that has been thought of recently. It is the oldest of revelations. And the most powerful.
All aspects of life are in The Name
We have said that all aspects of life, religion and science are embodied in the name YHWH. The following is only a sampling to point you in this direction.
• As YHWH is reflected in the human body, the Yod is the head, the first He is the arms, the Vav is the torso and the second He is the legs.
• As YHWH is reflected in the total human being, the Yod is the mind, the first He is the emotions, the Vav is the life energy and the second He is the body.
• As YHWH is reflected in life, the Yod is the intellect, the first He is the desire, the Vav is the animation and the second He is the matter.
• As YHWH is reflected in the world, the Yod is the human world, the first He is the animal world, the Vav is the plant world and the second He is the physical world.
• As YHWH is reflected in the cosmos, the Yod is the creator/consciousness of creation, the first He is the impulse of creation, the Vav is the immaterial created Universe and the second He is the material created Universe.
This one name reflects and echoes itself in all dimensions.
Four practical meditations
If anything in this writing has sparked an interest in you, here are four meditations to help make this revelation come alive.
1) Calling upon the name: Sit in quiet contemplation, and either say out loud or to yourself, “Yod-He-Vav-He” 100 times in the morning and 100 times at night. Every month add 100 times more times to both morning and evening practice, so that by month three you are repeating “Yod-He-Vav-He” 300 times, morning and night.
This is not meaningless repetition: this is the most meaningful. And you are not doing it to be heard, but to hear truly. As you call upon the name of YHWH, think about the significance of this name to you. Over the course of time, you will find that the name YHWH is indeed full of all power and revelation.
2) Within yourself: As you call upon the name, picture the parts of your body glowing as you say each letter. As you repeat the Yod, see your head glowing; with the first He see your shoulders and arms alight; as you repeat the Vav see your torso glowing; and finally, with the second He see your hips and legs aglow with the fire of Spirit. This will help you to recognize the name within yourself.
3) Within others - the walking YHWHs: Go to a shopping mall or other crowded place. As the people walk by, see them as YHWH walking. It may help to envision the glowing letters as in practice #2 above. This will help you to recognize the name in people all around you.
4) In the Bible: Find a Bible that you’re willing to mark up, or better yet, find an on-line version of the Bible you can edit. (The King James is currently available as a Word document; there may be others). Replace every occurrence of LORD with “I am YHWH.” You will be amazed at the results.
May you recognize The Name radiating within you.
May you recognize The Name radiating around you.