Thank Yahweh for the Holy Spirit which leads us into all truth! I don't know about you, but I would be totally lost without Him!
For a long time I had this funny feeling about Paul the Apostle. I wasn't entirely comfortable with the fact that it was Paul who wrote most of the New Testament, yet he never met the Messiah face to face personally (I mean during His earthly ministry...I know he met Him en route to Damascus). I wasn't entirely comfortable with some of his teachings on not following the Old Testament Laws, while it appeared that Messiah taught that we should. I wasn't comfortable that he seemed to be the one to establish Christianity, while Messiah never advocated for a separate religion from what he practiced and, when He did speak of building a Church, He appointed Peter to be the foundation from which He'd do so. I've since come to the realization (through much research, bible study and much prayer) that there was more to Paul than meets the eye and more to his ministry. I mean this in a good way and in a way that no longer has me stumbling over Paul and his teachings. But that conversation is for another time.
In my researching Paul and his history with Christianity, I came across a very interesting website (EliYah.com) where I have discovered much that I've since studied, researched and compared with the bible and found to be true.
Years ago, my mother discovered that Our Heavenly Father's name had been omitted from mainstream bible texts. She tried to tell me about this, but her words basically went in one ear and out of the other. Wasn't that I didn't believe her, just that the information didn't much matter to me. I loved the Father, His Son was my Savior, I'd been filled with the Holy Spirit and that was the most important thing to me. Names didn't have much meaning. However, when I stumbled upon EliYah's site, I became fascinated with what I read.
Without getting too technical (you can read, study and pray for your own understanding as I did), basically the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts contained Our Father's name, YHVH and His title (as in who He is), Elohim. However, since Jews believed His name was too sacred to pronounce, they omitted the name and His title and replaced both with the words God and Lord (both were previously, and still are, used to call and describe false gods and people...think: Lord Byron, gods and goddesses, etc.). The exact pronunciation of the name is speculated upon (and I'm still trying to figure it out too). Because there are no vowels in the Name, there's a story behind it, but Yahweh is the pronunciation I've come to use. You can visit Eliyah's site or read HERE for more information.
Until investigating it, I didn't think it was that big of a deal. But when I realized that His name is Holy (we say this all the time and sing it in songs, etc., but we don't actually use it!)... I had to pause and really take a look at the big picture. See, his name YHVH means "I Am" or "The One who is existing". Remember when Moses asked the Father:
“Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, 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 to all generations.’ (Exodus 3:13-15, emphasis added)
His name was replaced from the original manuscripts nearly 7,000 times! But he told us over and over and over again to use His name. When my mom used to tell me this, I figured, "Yeah, but He knows who we're talking about when we talk to or about Him. And by 'His name', He is referring more to His reputation or who He is more so than His actual name". While I still believe that, for the most part, this is true, the fact that YHWH and Elohim were originally in the bible, yet "men" made the decision to take them out, didn't set too well with me after giving it some thought. I mean, if He said to do such and such in His name or to call on His name and He told us His name and it was originally there for all to know... why take it out? And, after knowing that it was omitted and learning what it is, why not use it? So, long story short, I now use His name when referring to him. (For a list of scriptures where He instructs us on His name, using it, etc. click HERE).
Ditto for His Son the Messiah. He never heard the name Jesus during His earthly life and ministry. The apostles never called Him this, His parents, siblings, friends, etc. never even heard that name, much less used it! In fact, the letter J doesn't even exist in the Hebrew language! His original name was Yahushua (or some will say Y'shua or Yahshua). However, through translation to Greek and, later, to English His name was changed to Jesus. It's interesting to note that, even in the original 1611 King James Version of the bible (from which most of our English translations derive), the name Jesus was never used (it was Iesous). Names are meant to be special identifiers and in certain cultures (such as Hebrew), they have distinct and special meanings. Here in America, we don't put much stock into the meanings of names, but the rest of the world does. Like His Father, His name also has meaning. It means 'Yahweh saves' or 'Yahweh is our salvation'... His name literally means Savior! Note that the first 3 letters of His name (Yahushua) actually contain His father's name too (Yahweh).
Again, like me, you may say, "No big deal...His name was just translated into English". Well, I can go anywhere in the world and my name will still be "Free". Why? Because, out of respect, names are never translated to other languages...they're transliterated, instead. Think, Osama Bin Laden's name is still Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's name was still Saddam Hussein. Yet the name of the Messiah was changed from His original Hebrew name to something He never heard in His lifetime. You can learn more about this HERE, but for me this revelation was enough for me to depart from the traditions constructed by man and return to using the original names for our Father and for His Son and our Messiah.
Mr. Free (who prefers using the traditional English names, Jesus and God) likes to tell me, "We don't speak Hebrew, so I'll stick with the English names". His choice, but (to me) it's kinda insulting, not to mention arrogant, to change someone's name just because it's in another language. If someone tells me their name is Pedro, I don't take it upon myself to call him Peter. Or, if someone tells me their name is Jane, I would think it rude to want to call her Victoria, just because it's what I prefer. (Why am I thinking about Rudy from the Cosby Show calling her playmate, Kenny, "Bud"? LOL) Further, we say Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga and even Hamburger all the time. None of these are of English origin, yet we say them without attempting to translate them into some sort of English word. Most of us also know or have met people named Jesus, Humberto, Hector, Giselle, Juan, Isabella, etc. and we don't change their names. In fact, Mr. Free and I have personal friends and associates named Adelunge, Alloyce, Aslam and Martyne and we call them by their names without a problem, yet when it comes to Messiah...because of man's tradition (and man swapping the names), we sometimes want to resist restoring the Names and their usage to fit our own comfort...or so that we will fit in with the comfort of others!
Well, even though my journey started with research on Paul the Apostle, the Holy Spirit led me into another study entirely. Since then, I've begun to unravel a few other mysteries about the traditions which we hold dear, but aren't exactly biblical (and some are even pagan in origin...more on that later, too). Of course, I'm not easily swayed by a lot of what I read, but through consistent study, prayer and, of course, revelation of the Holy Spirit, the bible and all that Yahweh has for us has come alive to me in a new way and on deeper levels than ever before. It's almost like we've been so bamboozled by religious traditions until it takes really realizing this and backing away just to see the clear picture. Once you read the bible, with nothing but the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we find nothing but Truth. I personally believe it's super-important for all of us to look at everything we do, what we believe and how we worship and see if it lines up with what we're taught in the bible. If it doesn't, well... it's time to rethink why we do what we do and determine if we're offending Yahweh, hurting ourselves or keeping ourselves from the purpose and plan He has for us. Although I have explored much on the web, I also am mindful to study and pray over everything I entertain as a belief (or possible belief). Which is why I say thank Yahweh for the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth!