"My name is Jose Jimenez". That was always the opening line of a well known comedian that appeared quite frequently on the Ed Sullivan Show. In cultures and languages all over the world, names are given to identify a land, a people, an object, a concept, or a god. However, names are only symbols that represent something. This cannot be more dominant than in the Hebrew language. The word name in the Hebrew comes from the word shem (שם), pronounced shame. Hopefully, the etymology of this word will give us better insight into its biblical use, especially when it comes to calling upon our God and Creator. The word shem means the identity of source, design, and authority. The word first appears in Bere’shiyt (Genesis).

Bere’shiyt 2:8And YHVH ’Elohiym planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The word shem here is used to identifiy the source and authority of man. The next occurrence identifies the source of the four rivers that proceed forth from the garden of Eden. The name of something identifies its authority and purpose, such as Adam's naming of the animals. Remember, the name is only the symbol. When a policeman yells to a fleeing suspect, "Stop! In the name of the law", it is not really the word law that causes him or her to stop, but rather their knowledge of the authority behind the word. This is important to grasp. We know that the name of our Creator is of ultimate importance in scripture. But, I can assure you that those in this world that have rejected the authority of the Creator in their lives are the ones who will spend eternity separated from the God they would not obey. Damnation is not for those who incorrectly articulated certain consonants and vowels. You will also find that at the end of virtually every commandment given in the Tanakh, is a short phrase that says, "... for I am YHVH thy ’Elohiym, that is my name." That is simply our Savior's fatherly way of saying "BECAUSE I SAID SO." Those who mention the name of other gods are in reality saying "Because they said so." (Shemot (Exodus) 23:13). It is the authority of another god they are recognizing and not simply the forming of words with their mouths. The next time you are gathered together with other brethren in "the name of the Lord", you might keep in mind the real reason for gathering together in HIS NAME."

Shalom Alecheim!