It is probably safe to say that there is no consensus in our society when we start talking about God. I bet the first question is what god are we talking about? Is it Ba’al? Is it Ashteroth; or maybe you are referring to Allah? Each name identifies the entity you are discussing. You didn’t think that the name of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s God was “God,” did you? No. His name is Yehoveh (YHVH- יהוה, Yod Heh Vau Heh). It is the name Moses was told to use when referring to the God of the Exodus. Some people will argue that the Hebrew word, “El” means “God,” as in El Shaddai, and that is true in the general sense, but it is a word denoting a title, a position–it is the title of many entities. It would be similar to saying “President.” Well, which president are you referring to? Is it President Bush? Or President Clinton? Or President Washington?
Each name identifies the entity you are discussing. Islam and many within the Church want you to believe that Allah and Yehoveh are two names for the same God. After all, Muslims will tell you that Allah means “God;” and, most are aware that our Bibles invariably call the God of the Bible “God.” Well, it might interest you to know that the Egyptians also referred to their gods simply as “god,” particularly when one of their gods was the family god.
If we had not replaced YHVH with the generic word “God” or Adonai (which is simply Hebrew for Lord) so long ago, we would not have a problem recognizing that Allah (which is the formal name of the god of Islam), is not the same god as Yehoveh (which is the formal name of the God of the Bible). They are two entirely different names.
I wonder if my sons would like to be referred to as “Nickolas’s son #1 or #2, or #3,” instead of by Jonathan, or Christopher or Robert. I realize that if someone is talking to George W. Bush, they will call him “Mr. President,” but that isn’t his name. God, like the word President, is the title of an office: it’s not the name of the person who holds that office. As of this writing, our current president is named “George W. Bush;” his name isn’t “president.” God’s name is YHVH, not “God”-and certainly not Allah.
For reasons unknown to me, the bible translators consistently chose to use the word God or Lord whenever the word Yehoveh appeared. So, when we look at the original language texts we see that the same people and nations who knew about the events in Egypt concerning Israel, also knew the name of Israel’s God-Yehoveh. In that era knowing a god’s name was important because the superstition was that if you knew the name of the god who lorded over some area of responsibility like the weather, or fertility, or prosperity, or battle, then by invoking that god’s name, that god had to do what you requested.
Obviously, Muslims refuse to accept that Arab pagans were already worshiping Allah at the Ka’ba in Mecca, long before Muhammad came. Most Muslims will become angry when they are confronted with this fact. However, history isn’t on their side. Pre-Islamic literature has proved this. In his book, “The Muslim Doctrine of God,” Samuel M. Zwemer wrote:
“History establishes beyond the shadow of doubt that even the pagan Arabs, before Muhammad’s time, knew their chief god by the name of Allah and even, in a sense, proclaimed his unity. Among the pagan Arabs this term denoted the chief god of their pantheon, the Kaaba, with its three hundred and sixty idols.”
In fact, at first Mohammad never intended to establish a new religion, but rather to reform the belief in Allah which already existed, and to show what this belief truly signified and rightfully demanded.
What I want you to grasp is that Yehoveh has continually tried to reveal Himself to people. He began by making Himself known to the Patriarchs in a little different way than He revealed Himself to, for instance, Moses. What is the difference? Well, one difference is in the level of intimacy—it is similar to calling me in the less personal “Mr. Hiemstra,” than the more personal “Nickolas.” Over time, YHWH was making Himself more known, and more personal, and more accessible.
Progressively-step-by-step, Yehoveh revealed Himself to mankind. We see this throughout the Word. While we get just an outline of God in Genesis, by the time we reach the end of Torah we have more information on God than we can humanly comprehend. The next to the last revealed manifestation of God that we read about in the Bible, is Yeshua. Jesus made the relationship between Yehoveh and man almost as personal as it gets: He became one of us, walked among us, and shared the problems we face in our fleshly human existence. I say “almost,” because when Jesus left, we received the Holy Spirit: you can’t beat that! Yehoveh no longer walked among us, external to us, He took the next step, and has now set up living within us. In the most literal possible sense, He now dwells with us. Internal to us.
I was discussing this with a fellow believer and his response was that this was my opinion. Well again, words mean something. If I told you that Neapolitan ice cream was better than Chocolate ice cream . . . I would be correct, but that would also be my opinion. However, if I told you that the Earth was round and revolved around the Sun that would be scientific and historical fact, and not my opinion. By telling you that Yehoveh is the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and that Allah is the name of a god being worshipped at the Ka’ba in Mecca by Arab pagans before Muhammad came. That is also historical fact, and not my opinion.
My only wish is that when you are praying, you know who you are speaking to. Is it Yehoveh, Allah, or Bill Gates?
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome