photo credit: Bye Bye Sun – Marking the start of Yom Kippur 2012 via photopin (license)
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM,’ and He said ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Exodus 3:14, NASB
I’m fascinated God led me–just in the past two days–to study His name, Yahweh, which is more commonly recognized as Jehovah. I had little understanding of its special significance to Jews: “This name … was held by the later Jews to be so sacred that it was never pronounced except by the high priest on the great Day of Atonement, when he entered into the most holy place.”
Did you know TODAY is the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur?
Beginning at sundown tonight, this time of repentance extends through sundown tomorrow. In fact, it’s already in progress: Israel’s sunset occurred at 6:36 pm their time, which equates to 11:36 am our time (EST).
Discovering more about Yahweh on such a momentous day thrills me even more.
Yahweh refers to “the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God.” It’s only used of the one true God–the God of the Bible–and it’s denoted in Scripture by capital letters in the name ‘LORD.’
God never changes.
God never began, and He’ll never end.
God wasn’t created–He self-exists.
These truths blow me away–the magnitude of God’s being surpasses my greatest thought. Yet despite God’s magnificence and incomprehensible glory, He reveals Himself to us. He’s a God of relationship.
Yahweh is God’s personal name.
Just as Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush, He reveals Himself to us. I AM–never changing, never ending, self-existing. This is our God, fully revealed in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:3
As Jewish people everywhere celebrate the Day of Atonement, Christians are blessed to understand this holiday’s fulfillment in Christ:
- JESUS offered Himself as a sacrifice in our place, forever negating the need for animal sacrifice.
- CHRIST’S DEATH secured our atonement, our reconciliation with God.
- JESUS now functions as our High Priest, interceding for us before our Father in heaven.
One writer states, “The Word Yahweh Implies A Relationship … He is Yahweh only to those who have a relationship with Him.” I love that. Isn’t relationship with God what we cry out for in the deepest part of our hearts? Whether we’re mired in this world’s mess or soaring high on earthly enjoyments, we’re created for relationship with “the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God,” Yahweh.