Every once in a while I read someone’s post, and they use the Tetragrammaton, the letters that spell out God’s Name. As someone raised in a religious Jewish environment, I find it at best insensitive, and at worse, offensive. It goes against Jewish values.
Proponents of referring to God by the Tetragrammaton, do so thinking they are being more precise, and are somehow “making God’s Name known.” The problem with doing this, is that they are now making it common, instead of treating it as holy. Jewish practice, for at least the last 2500 years, has been to prevent the profanation of His Name. When we read the Torah, and see yud-kay-vav-kay, we say “Adonai,(Lord)” instead of pronouncing the Name. We refer to God as HaShem, literally, “The Name,” rather than saying His Name. By not using His Name, we protect it from misuse, and treat it as something special.
Proponents of using God’s Name are mostly not Jewish, or have not been raised Jewish, and don’t seem to care about respect for His Name. They are more interested in being “Biblically precise,” regardless of how it might offend others. They try to tell themselves this is a later rabbinic stricture that “Biblical believers” don’t have to follow.
The fact is, even the Besorah, the New Covenant scriptures, uses circumlocution to avoid direct reference to the Almighty. In the Gospel of Matthew, it refers to the Kingdom of Heaven, instead of the Kingdom of God.
Those who think they are being more precise or correct have a fatal flaw to their reasoning. First, using God’s Name marks them as non-Jews. It is Jewish practice to NOT use it. Secondly, using God’s Name is imprecise practice. If a person truly believes God is their father, they should refer to him as Father and not by his first name. In the culture I grew up in, a child never calls his or her father by his first name. He calls him Father or Dad. Even the Prince of Wales doesn’t refer to his mother as Elizabeth, but as “Mother” or Her Majesty.
One of my nieces once called me “Michael.” I stopped her mid sentence and asked her what she called me. She apologized and called me Uncle Michael. It was not her place to refer to me as Michael. When I am teaching a class which people pay high tuition for, they don’t call me by my first name. They call me Dr. Schiffman, because it is right and proper. How much more, when we talk to God or refer to Him, should we not speak to Him and of Him respectfully. It is for this reason the commandment states, “You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain. For he will not hold guiltless him who take the Lord’s Name in vain.”
Using the Tetragrammaton is too familiar. It makes me wonder who they think they are. Believing in Yeshua does not make someone “God’s buddy.” It’s like bringing God down to your level. That is not honoring and respecting Him. God is worthy of our respect, and acting like you are on a first name basis with HaShem may make you feel better about yourself, but it is a slap in the face to all that is holy.
A person disagreeing with my perspective may be content to brush it off saying its just my opinion, but its the opinion of 2500 years of Jewish people, and most Christians as well. Its time we stop acting like petulant children who are doing something wrong and acting like it’s a mitzvah. If you don’t agree with me, I don’t give a damn. And saying damn, isn’t as bad as taking God’s Name in vain.