#4-5. Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Is it forbidden to spell the English word "God" fully? Is it correct to hyphenate the word as "G-d" as the Jews do? Is "God" the actual name of God? Isn't "God" capitalized a sign of reverence, meaning the One in charge, or the One and Only?
Is it forbidden to write or say the tetragrammaton (JHVH)? Certainly Jews avoid writing those letters, but didn't someone write those letters for Torahs and prayer books, over and over again? Were those people exempt from the ban, or punishment thereof? Certainly Jews avoid saying the tetragrammaton as it's spelled ("yee-yeh"), substituting instead "Adonai" (but also substituting "Adonai" with "Ado-Shem" or "Ha-Shem" as a further fence!), but since the letters written in Torahs and prayer books still spell out the tetragrammaton ("yee-yeh"), is there not unconscious or subconscious use of the so-called forbidden pronunciation? Or is it enough that they "hallow" God's name by preventing that pronunciation from leaving their lips? Or is their good intention good enough?
it breaking the commandment to use a pronunciation close to the
tetragrammaton, such as the Christian "Yahweh" or "Jehovah," or the
Islamic "Allah," both captures from the Hebrew?
But let us advance the conversation, for the pronunciation, or avoidance, of God's Name is not how we hallow or profane His Name. Rather, profaning God's Name is the invocation of God as an excuse for behavior and actions which are clearly against the Law of God. For example…
Saying that God approves suicide in any degree. Whether for mercy on the ailing, or for jihad in exploding oneself for glory, you committed suicide, period. Suicide is murder of the self, and murder is always forbidden. To say it is not forbidden is teaching against the Law, which is blasphemy. The jihadi says he is glorified, but the Koran says he is not, that suicide is forbidden. The user of euthanasia will say that God will forgive and look the other way, or that God permits, but the Bible does not include any such waiver. Though one may rightfully argue that jihad is worse than euthanasia, God's Law, and justice, is equal, not based on emotional arguments.
A less-dramatic example of profaning God’s name is the eating of pork. When the Jew and Muslim refrains, it is in accordance with the Law of God, and it is good. When the Christian eats pork, there is no special permission and no change in Law. The Law does not permit it, and Christ said He did not come to change a bit of the Law. So how is it that the Christian took Christ’s words that he wasn’t changing the Law and made them into that he changed the Law? Simply, the early church made compromises with pagans for the sake of expanding the congregation. This is not conjecture, it’s in the New Testament. Paul made many compromises with non-Jewish congregants, to the point that he took their side against the actual religion, which was Torah.
The Christian might protest, “It’s not what goes in the mouth, it’s what comes out!” (Christ paraphrased). If so, the Christian should not be against eating human flesh. “Don’t be absurd, Tom!” I’m not, I’m taking the breaking of the commandment, and the invocation of the paraphrase, to its logical conclusion. If it’s not what goes in the mouth that counts, any number of sins may be perpetrated this way. The worst part is, they invoke Christ, who they say is fully-God/fully-man, to justify this sin. This is a profaning of God’s Name, using it in any degree to justify sin.
There is something more. God’s “name” is as your name or my name. It has a reputation and a power. If someone says, “In the name of the king, I command thee…,” there is a power behind that command, and if the reputation is strong enough, it motivates. If someone says, “In the name of Allah, I do such-and-such,” it also carries weight. Now, due to jihad, the weight of such a statement is often fear, but not fear of God. This is because we know, through Torah, which commandments the jihadi breaks. In this case, the name of God, as it were, has power, but the reputation is of desperation, which ends in murder. In a similar vein, the Christian says, “In the name of Jesus…” but follows up with many pagan rituals and actions, not the least of which is tolerance of sin, including abortion, male homosexuality, suicide, and blasphemy.
“But, Tom, what would you have us do?” Look, I realize that in the end, as it says in The Book Of Revelation, God will have to destroy because we have profaned greatly, so that the very dust of the Earth carries overbearing and overflowing sin which must be burned out. The very elements must be melted and then reconstituted. But just because the good book says it ends in annihilation doesn’t mean I have to accept it without a fight. I admire any religion which has the guts to tell the world, “No! Do not profane God’s name.” If the Muslim fanatics were not murderers, rapists, and hypocrites, they might have something. But as it is, they have made it worse, by profaning God’s name in the name of saving God’s name from being profaned!
How then should we hallow God’s name? First, His Law. Make it part of your life. Second, His promises. Make it a point to not only obey the Law but also to repent for your sins, for redemption. He is good and faithful to cleanse if we ask for His Grace and forgiveness. The commandment to keep Yom Kippur is proof of that. Third, we should not seek to sanctify our actions in His name, neither war nor suicide nor killing nor eating. Indeed, all of our righteousness is like a filthy rag, but… that doesn’t mean we get a pass, or that God looks the other way, or that we can blame God because He made us this way. Even if this is a grand experiment, we, the subjects, have some responsibility to comport to what God expects from us, or at least hopes for us. The scientist does not take the blame if the culture in the Petri dish fails to perform as planned, he merely throws it out and starts over. Do not blame God for making you this way. Do not curse God for the Law, which is His finest. Do not spit on life, which He made. Do not think God is not involved, for He is mindful of all things. Do not think there is no God, for you do not want to find out how very wrong you are here, for God is a reality, not a hope (see 603.1).
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