O Jehovah, our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all the earth,Psalm 8:1,9 -A Psalm of David
Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens!
O Jehovah, our Lord,
How excellent is thy name in all the earth!
My days in public school began by saying the Lord’s prayer (then standing and saying the pledge of allegiance to the flag). The Lord’s prayer is my earliest memorized prayer. I imagine for many people, it is also theirs. I didn’t think of this call to prayer as an act of our nation to sanctify God until I began studying the original Hebrew Matthew Avinu – Lord’s Prayer. (Matthew 6:9-14 ).1
The first line reads, “Our Father in heaven, your name will be sanctified.” It doesn’t sound as poetic as the King James version. Still, it doesn’t sound like it would if we try to transcribe it from actual Hebrew without knowing how the language is formed: “Father our in heaven, will be sanctified name your.”
When Jesus gave the Lord’s prayer, he was actually teaching Hebrewisms understood by many first-century Jews still used today. However, if we focus on “your name will be sanctified,” I think we’ll find those words hold the key to understanding why he chose this of all prayers. Take a look at the first lines with a modern rabbi”s commentary:
Rabbinic/Jewish New Testament Commentary2
These verses include what is widely known as the Lord’s Prayer since it was taught by the Lord Yeshua. All of its elements may be found in the Judaism of Yeshua’s day, so in this sense, it is not original with him, but it is properly revered for its beauty and economy. Its first words, “Our father in heaven” (Avinu sh’baShammayim) open many Hebrew prayers. The following line recalls the first portion of the synagogue prayer known as the Kaddish, which says: “Magnified and sanctified (Yitgadal v’ yitkaddash) be his great name throughout the world which he has created according to his will, and may he establish his Kingdom in your lifetime.”
Looking around the web for the history of the Kaddish mentioned above, I found some interesting views on the origins. It seems it did not originate in the Temple during the first century but in a prayer house around the time the “Christian Lord’s prayer” came about. We can only wonder.
One of the essential things to understand is that Jesus gave us a command. It is hidden by poetic verbiage, but nonetheless, the verb tense tells us it’s a command. “Your name will be sanctified.” is similar in tense to God’s first command in the Bible, “Let there be light!” He was commanding the elements to create our world. Jesus is calling us to give God’s name fame and renown. How do we do that? Praise and worship come to mind and action. What actions?
Kiddush Hashem – The Deeds We Perform
Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of the Name) literally means to perform deeds that glorify the name of the Almighty. The concept is as old as the words written by Moses in Leviticus 22:31-32. Some point to Jesus’ teachings or the rabbis’ writings, but all I could think of were Jesus’ words from his last prayer before the betrayal, as recorded in John 17. I believe Jesus’ prayer to our Father becomes much more plain-spoken when we understand his words from a Hebraic perspective. Understanding Jesus’ Jewish life means we gain new insight into how his words reflect Kaddish Hashem in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and Matthew 6.
This is My Name Forever
God has a proper name, and he first made it clear to Moses in the Book of Exodus. From then on, His name is well documented among the Jewish people and throughout the Bible.
God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya’akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation. – Exodus 3:15, The Complete Jewish Bible
The Power of Their Names
Jesus says in John 17:6, “I have made your name known to those you gave me out of the world…”3 Jesus shows us in this prayer that He sanctified His Father’s name with actions.
A little farther on in this beautiful passage from John 17, Jesus says, “…and I come to you, Holy Father, keep them in Your name which You have given me…” (John 17:6,11) And in the following verse: “…While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name that you gave me.“
The disciples who followed him knew Jesus by his Hebrew name, Yeshua or Joshua, to us. The best explanation I find online says in part (a tiny part):
- BDB Theological Dictionary lists יהושע under יהוה and reads Yah Is Salvation. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Is Salvation.
- The name Joshua is a compilation of two elements, the first one being the appellative יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton; the name of the Lord: YHWH.
- The second element of the name Joshua/Jesus comes from the verb ישע (yasha’), meaning to save or deliver.
The first mention of Joshua’s name change comes in Numbers 13. Moses changed his name from Hoshea to Yeshosua. From “Servant” to “God is Salvation.” For the Jewish people, this is hope, often associated with the coming Messiah. For Christians, it is pure joy to know who Messiah is!
(Along with this great resource from Abarim Publications, another listed in the footnotes4 below sharing about Jesus – Yeshua in today’s Israel.)
Read Deuteronomy 18:5. Where you see “LORD,” replace it with God’s actual name, which is what the translators actually saw when reading the transcripts or the tetragram – YHVH – Yehovah.
“For Yehovah your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes, to stand and serve in the name of Yehovah forever.”
Moses is the author of Deuteronomy and speaks to the Children of Israel in this chapter. Later in the chapter, beginning with verse 15, I wonder if we had been on the road to Emmaus with Jesus and the despondent disciples, who didn’t realize it was the resurrected Christ speaking, if these verses were the first he explained to them.
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. – Moses, Deuteronomy 18:15-19
Compare Jesus’ words in the first lines of the prayer in John 17, and see how He honors our Father as he reports on fulfilling his assignments. There are many Scriptures the Jewish people understand as pointing to Messiah. Another one that might have been discussed on the road to Emmaus is from Isaiah 49. For years I wondered about certain parts of this chapter. The Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) has links throughout the passage that helps Believers see Messiah Jesus in words. OJB is not an easy read if you don’t know a bit of Hebrew. With the Names of God Bible. It’s easier to understand you are reading a conversation between Messiah and Yehovah (Yahweh). Understanding clicks when you read the passages in this light as a Believer and know Jesus’ teachings. Remember Jesus’ name Yeshua is the combined name of servant with God’s name. This is understood in Hebraic thinking. Think also of what we know about Jesus’ birth! You will find plenty more to think about as you explore the Scriptures from Yeshua’s perspective!
5 (Messiah says-nan) Yahweh formed me in the womb to be his servant
in order to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to him.
(Yahweh honors me,
and my Elohim has become my strength.)
6 Now, Yahweh says,
“You are not just my servant
who restores the tribes of Jacob
and brings back those in Israel whom I have preserved.
I have also made you a light for the nations
so that you would save people all over the world.”
Isaiah 49:5-7 – Names of God Bible
Wednesday Words is not complete without a song!
Numbers 6:24-26 records the ancient priestly blessing still used continually to bless God’s people worldwide! I’m giving you a link from a Christian perspective below.5 Still, I think you will gain the best understanding from the video in the next post – a lively Jewish perspective that includes the Rabbis’ conspiracy to hide God’s name.
‘Y’varekh’kha Adonai v’yishmerekha.
[May Adonai bless you and keep you.]
Ya’er Adonai panav eleikha vichunekka.
[May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.]
Yissa Adonai panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom.
[May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.]’
Numbers 6:24-26 – Complete Jewish Bible
Todah! Thank you for stopping by The Israel Letters II! Please share the posts with your friends.
May God bless you always,
Blessed be the Holy One of Israel,
1. A Prayer to Our Father – Hebrew Origins to the Lord’s Prayer, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson
2. Rabbinic/Jewish New Testament Commentary
3. John 17 – Names of God Bible
4, Jesus vs. Yeshua? – One for Israel
5. Understanding the Priestly Blessing for Christians
© 2022 Nancy Montgomery – Haverim.blog
Views and opinions found in links on this site are not necessarily those of Haverim.blog.