Jehovah Considered As A Memorial Name -- By: Alexander MacWhorter

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 014:53 (Jan 1857)
Article: Jehovah Considered As A Memorial Name
Author: Alexander MacWhorter


Jehovah Considered As A Memorial Name1

Alexander MacWhorter

It is of great moment to man, that any term in which the Creator reveals either his character, or his relation to the race, should be clearly understood. If there is any one word, which He has adopted, and declared to be his memorial to all generations, that word should be the theme of earnest inquiry. If any uncertainty hang over the true significance of its ancient forms, the uncertainty should be dispelled by

diligent research. The whole Christian world, God’s children, each one of whom has a personal concern in the meaning of this term, should compel the research, being assured that God would not commit the solemn act of mockery, of giving to man as a revelation and memorial, a word either uncertain or unmeaning. Now God has given us a name and a memorial.

When Moses entreated the Lord for a name by which he might justify to the children of Israel his mission as deliverer, God answered: “Go tell them ‘I am’ hath sent you — this is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” So at least we are told in Ex. 3:14, where we find the phrase “I AM” given as the interpreting synonym for “Jehovah.” The circumstances in which this name was given are well known. It was an occasion of great distress among the suffering Israelites. Moses had come, with a message of Deliverance from God, who had declared that with a strong arm he would free his people from bondage. But Pharaoh hardened his heart, and would not let them go. Moses and Aaron, day by day, besought the Lord for the promised deliverance. But it was delayed. Burden after burden was added, till the heart of the people was sick. They accused Aaron and Moses of being the instigators of this additional cruelty. They refused to believe in the promised deliverance. The faith of Moses himself began to waver, or at least to wonder at the delay. Hear his almost reproachful language: “Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people; why is it that thou hast sent me? — for since I came to Pharaoh, to speak in thy name, he hath done evil unto this people, neither hast thou delivered thy people at all!”

Now let us consider the answer made to Moses in these circumstances. Let us remember that these were God’s own people, in deep affliction, so deep that they hearkened not to Moses, for anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. Let us substitute the phrase “I am,” carrying with it the meaning of self-existence, for the term Lord or Jehovah, wherever it occurs in the answering...

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