How Shall we Call Him?  The Names Dilemma

Set Apart Ministries Position
on the Use of the Hebrew Name of Y'shua and His Deity

We are clear that our Savior is Hebrew and that His Name is Hebrew. We know that the transliteration we have all grown up with, Jesus, cannot be correct as there was no "J" sound in Hebrew and no "J" in the English language until the 15th century. Yet, we know and recognize that we first came to know Him in that Name. In His mercy, He has been gracious to us during our exile!

And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away,
neither will I abhor them to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. (Lev. 26:44)

He has, and still does, answer prayer in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth for those who have not yet understood.

We also know that there is disagreement as to how to transliterate His Hebrew Name most correctly: Yahshua, Yeshua, Yehoshua, and so forth. (S.A.M. had  originally chosen to use the transliteration of  Yahshua and Yahweh (YHWH) when we refer to Him. Later we learned that this carries an association with those who view the Sacred Name as having only one correct transliteration. Since we do not believe this should be at issue, we have since chosen to use other ways, and in truth, would prefer to just keep the Hebrew letters if this webhost could support the Hebrew font.)

Occasionally, in our worship praise times, we may choose to use a few songs that do not contradict Messianic understanding, but may use the Name Jesus. Judah maintained knowledge of Torah but "missed" Messiah while Ephraim "lost" Torah and has had only a limited, distorted understanding of Messiah. Yet, YHWH has used Ephraim to keep knowledge of Yahshua alive! In His time, He is removing the veils from the eyes of both houses! He has been gracious to us in our ignorance and we believe we can do no less. Therefore, we believe that both houses have valuable things to offer as we come together. S.A.M., as an equipping ministry, will encourage study and understanding of Y'shua our HEBREW Saviour, using His Hebrew Name, however, we will not disparage anyone who, as they begin to learn, finds comfort in the familiar transliteration "Jesus" or who prefers Yeshua or Yehoshua rather than Yahshua; HaShem, Yahoweh or Yahweh.

We believe that each community will establish their own halacha/way to walk as was true in first century times.  Many good hearted and scholarly people can make a case for different viewpoints on the way to transliterate or pronounce the Name or the way to observe a moedim/feast.  Our thought is that this is our YHWH's way of testing the hearts, to see if we will fall into the snare of contentiousness or not.  Our choice is to remain open, holding things like this "loosely" so as not to become rigid or dogmatic in error. We do have to make a choice for our own community as a general practice, for instance, in celebration of Feasts for without this determination, chaos would reign. But we have no intention or desire to enter into contentiousness over these matters with anyone.

One day, our Messiah will come. When He is here, there will be no more doubt or confusion as He will make all such matters clear. Kumi ori, Y'shua!

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is
in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity. (I Cor. 13:9-13)

In recent months the controversy over our Messiah intensifies, just as we are told it would as we draw nearer to His return.  There is a resounding crash going on between those who see Him as a Prophet and those who see Him as the Son of God. There is perhaps a more subtle crash as people debate whether He is actually God or a representative of God.

So that there would be no confusion as to where we stand on this issue, let it be known that we firmly declare Him, Y'shua ha Maschiach, (Jesus of Nazareth as we formerly knew Him) to be fully God and fully man.  He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily as written in Colossians 1: 13-20.  We declare Him to be One with the Father as He Himself declared as recorded in the words of John 17: 21-23. The plural unity is described in Hebrew as echad and seems to lack a comparable word in the English language.

A simple analogy that has helped make the picture more clear for some is as follows:  If we were to consider all of the Red Sea to be our Elohim, then we were to remove a cup of the Red Sea to represent the Son; it could be said that the Son/water in the cup is ALL God but it is not all OF God.

December, 2011

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.

Messiah's Name  

Names of God