Thursday, January 27, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No. 13

#13: Praying in the name of Y’hoshua

One of the foundational concepts within Christianity is that prayer is made in “the name of Jesus”, and there are many verses that appear to support this but not all verses as we will soon discover. Nevertheless, here are some verses that appear to uphold this from the NIV:

“Peter replied, ‘Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2:38 NIV)

“But Peter said, ‘I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!’” (Acts 3:6 NIV)

Also see Acts 3:16, 4:10, 4:30, 5:40-41, 9:27, 10:48, 16:18, 19:5, 19:13, 19:17, Romans 15:30, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 5:4, Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 2:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 1:12, 3:12, Hebrews 13:15, 1 John 3:23 that also appear to bolster this idea. However, we must correctly understand the difference between names and titles while considering that there is One Name – imbued with power and linked directly to the One Elohim – and then there are many titles, even of the human variety that are comparatively powerless on their own. The ironic point is, Name and names look and sound the same. The difference is not only within the intensions we display when speaking them, but the distinguishing office of power behind the name.

A very important Torah concept is that of the power of the promise. Put simply, Elohim gives or changes someone’s name, and the new meaning that is given to it points to a promise that He will fulfill. The best example of this is the patriarch Abraham:

“Abram threw himself on his face and Elohim spoke to him further. “as for Me, this is My covenant with you: You shall be the father of a multitude of nations, and you shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham” (Genesis 17:3-6)

Abram is Hebrew for “exalted father”. However, Abraham translates to “father of many nations,” which is exactly what Elohim promises. A short time later, after Abraham almost sacrifices his son Isaac, he is told:

“All nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants” (Genesis 22:18).

Consider that the world shall bless itself through Abraham’s seed and now witness how this principle manifests itself:

  “Jehosophat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem in the House of YHWH at the front of the new court. He said, YHWH Elohim of our fathers, truly You are the Elohim in heaven and You rule over the kingdoms of the nations; none can oppose You. O our Elohim, you dispossessed the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and You gave it to the descendants of Your friend Abraham forever. They settled in it and built a House for your name. They said, Should misfortune befall us – the punishing sword, pestilence or famine, we shall stand before this House and before You – for Your name is in this House – and we shall cry out to You in distress and You will listen and deliver us’” (2 Chronicles 20:5-9).

Jehosophat addressed Elohim directly in His House and then invoked the name of Abraham to access the power of Elohim’s promise to the patriarch. In Orthodox liturgy, this is called Yitzkar, or “Yah remembers.” It is done on Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur, when the faithful pray that Elohim will remember  their loved ones who have passed on because of the covenant with  Abraham and his seed. This is very obviously not the same thing as someone invoking the name of a man as if he were Elohim. Rather, it is an affirmation of Elohim that says:

1) I heard Your word’s: 2) I understood Your promise: 3) I understood how and by whom You will carry that promise out: 4) I am grateful that You have done this for us, Your people Israel: 5) and now I pray in Your name, and access the power of that promise by invoking the Name that You gave to the recipient of that promise.

This is a very Jewish concept to pray only in the name of YHWH, but ask in the name of the receiver of the promise. In Aramaic, the words pray and ask are not as nearly interchangeable as they appear to be in English. These are two very distinct words derived from completely different roots. As such, it is very easy to tell the difference between them. That clear delineation is also why, when you go through the Aramaic Renewed Covenant, you will always see Mashiyach or Paul addressing their prayers to MarYah, which literally means Master YHWH. In fact, the Aramaic Tanakh has MarYah in place of YHWH almost 7,000 times, so there is no doubt whatsoever of its meaning.

Conversely, if anyone wanted to pray in the name of the man, they would have used the phrase “Our Master” – (Maran). However, as with Abraham, they can access the power of the promise of Elohim with Maran. From here, two questions emerge: How did this happen? Is it really in harmony with Tanakh?

It is quite obvious that the post-apostolic church founders never understood that the name Y’hoshua is empowered by YHWH, and by that empowerment, the greatest promise of all is within it. Put simply, we have name and Name here too. The mortal, and common name, of a man is Y’hoshua, a form of “Joshua” in English. There may be millions of Yehoshua-Joshua-Y’shuas in the world right now and for them it is their legal name, but there is no power or divine promise embodied into the person because they have this proper name.

However, the Name Y’hoshua was Set Apart by YHWH for Y’hoshua to also receive his unique anointing as Mashiyach: Y’hoshua means “Yah is salvation” in Hebrew. Therefore, to call upon Y’hoshua is to call upon Yah to save you if you pray with the appropriate intent. Because of this one crucial fact, it is a major transgression to apply a pagan name toward the Almighty Elohim. Exodus 20:7 restricts us from taking the name in “vain” – shav – means “to make desolate”. How is this done? By either directly transgressing against His Name, or taking the name of a pagan deity and applying it to YHWH. For example, one of the pagan gods was named Zeus and was addressed as “Kurios” and “Theos”, --exactly the same words that the Greek translators applied to YHWH in the Greek “New Testament”! To use a name for Zeus and then apply it to YHWH renders the Name above all names as shav, literally giving His esteem to another (Isaiah 42:8). If is true for the Father, then this same principle also applies for the Son! Furthermore, that is why Philippians 2:9-11 says:

“Therefore Elohim exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, and that at the name of Y’hoshua every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Y’hoshua is YHWH, to the esteem of the Father.”

Hebrews 1:4 also teaches that the esteem  always goes to YHWH, but “the name that is above all names” is also YHWH; reason being, every other name for a messenger (angel) has El in it (MichaEL, UriEL, RaphaEL etc). EL is a name for Elohim but not the name of Elohim that YHWH is. Once again, the verse points to the Hebrew and Aramaic name and identity of Mashiyach, because the Name of Yah is in the name of Y’hoshua.

However, as alluded to earlier, not all verses support the mainstream Christian tradition; in fact, one neglected passage can correct the standard interpretations of dozens of others. That is why the “name of Jesus” references were kept intact with the Gentile name Jesus, because now you will see for yourself how difficult it is too understand the truth of what Y’hoshua means by using the Gentile name “Jesus”. However, here is the passage that breaks the truth wide open:

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Set Apart Father, protect them by the power of Your Name – the same name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11).

How about that? Even the Greek New Testament reads this way, proclaiming that the “name of Y’hoshua” is really that of YHWH. Therefore, every time we lift up our voices to Y’hoshua, we are really proclaiming praise to the one and only YHWH, literally, to the esteem of the Father. Furthermore, since there is only One Name for the One Elohim, those who call on the true Name of YHWH become one with Y’hoshua, which then makes them one with YHWH. So, to bring it all together we can confidently:

    * Pray in the name of YHWH.
    * Ask for the power of YHWH’s promises in the name of the method of their fulfilment, but only as a way to bring esteem to YHWH. This involves, by the way, performing miracles. Take the case in Acts 4:1-12. in that passage, Jews who witnessed the miracles of Peter and Yochanan were not content to hear that they simply came from Elohim. Instead, they wanted to specifically know by what name it was done. Peter says it was by the name of Y’hoshua the Mashiyach of Nazareth that a lame man was healed. However, Peter is careful to make the point that YHWH Himself raised Y’hoshua from the dead so that this power could be accessed when he believed the same thing. So, when he adds in verse 12, “For there is no name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” he is not saying that Y’hoshua the man replaces YHWH. Rather, what Peter means is that there is no other Mashiyach that Elohim has chosen except Y’hoshua to fulfill YHWH’s promise. To say the Name then of Y’hoshua, is to acknowledge the power of YHWH to save us according to His Word.
     * Immerse in the name of the Father (YHWH, Who promised and sent the Son), in the name of the Son (Y’hoshua, who fulfilled YHWH’s promise) and the Set Apart Spirit (who is the “spirit of truth” that gives you the reason behind the ritual). Reason: for only in that manner are the complete methods of fulfilling that promise recognised (Ezekiel 36:24), with all the esteem again to YHWH.  The Aramaic word for this carries a meaning closer to “immersion”, as in using Jewish ritual mikveh baths. Also, the fact is that Ruach haKodesh (Set apart Spirit) is another name for YHWH (Psalm 51:11) and the Mashiyach has the Divine nature within him that only comes from YHWH (Isaiah 11:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:3).
     * Assemble in the Name of YAHU—SHUA: “When two or more gather in my name, there I am in the midst,” refers to these days when Mashiyach has physically departed from the world. He resurrected and ascended to “the right hand of the Father.” This is a metaphor that means “to dwell next to the Father” (Psalm 110:1). Two or three souls gather together to bear witness to the directives given by the Spirit of Mashiyach. So, remembering that Yehochanan told us about the Word made flesh that was with Elohim in the beginning (also see Yehochanan 17:5), what happens after ascension is that Y’hoshua becomes the Word again. We know this because when he comes out of heaven again he is called by the name that he took on when he entered it two millennia before: Word of Elohim (Revelations 19:13)! Therefore, since the Word is with YHWH again, they are inseparable, and to gather in that Name is to gather in the Name of YHWH, while accessing the power of the promise of His Mashiyach

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