Church of God, New World Ministries

What Does “Hallowed Be Thy Name” Mean?

Just about every day someone on television is saying “our thoughts and prayers are with you” – what does that mean?

In fact, each day, millions pray, in China, Southeast Asia, Japan, in Europe, Central and South America; across the United States and Canada.

With all these people praying, what happens to all those prayers? Where do they go? Does anyone hear them? More important are they being answered?

Each Sunday morning, tens of million go to church, tens of millions more see religious programs on television, they pray, they engage in responsive readings, millions recite the Lord’s Prayer. How many of those prayers are answered, really answered, in a definitive, perhaps even a spectacular way?

What about us, members of God’s true Church, are our prayers answered in a tangible, positive way, leaving absolutely no doubt in your mind?

Sometimes failing to receive an answer to prayer can prove to be frustrating.  Why does it seem that God is hiding Himself, why is He so unreal to us? Why does God allow wars, sickness and disease, rape, murder, tragedy, accidents, death? Where is God when you are really in pain?

Why does this or that person have problems, and why now? Why are children born malformed, deaf, blind and dumb, are there any answers, or must we remain forever helpless, asking why?

Pastors, theologians, and philosophers fail to provide us with ready answers. So religious people will quote scriptures: “Surely, His ways are mysterious, and past finding out.”

But the fact is, man, in too many cases, has invited God out of his life, and God has cooperated.

But is it God who is aloof, or we humans who ignore Him, and His will in our lives? How many of us would want God intervening in our personal life on a daily basis?

The truth of the matter is, miracles do happen, God does answer prayers.

But there is much more to it than mere need, even desperate need. There are certain conditions to prayer, some requirements on our part.

Do we understand that God has made answered prayers conditional? In other words, there are keys to answered prayers.

One on the keys is understanding what it means to hallow God’s name. The word hallow means to make holy, to venerate, to purify, majesty and to consecrate.

How many people do you think knows God’s name? There are millions that speak of God, either in prayer or in profanity. The fact is, that God is not so much a name as it is a proper noun, signifying authority.

     Random House Webster’s Dictionary definition of God is: “The Creator and Ruler of the universe. In other words, the One Supreme Being.

This definition leaves much to be desired, because millions assume, that when they speak of God, that they refer to the One Jesus called “Father,” the Creator, the giver of the Ten Commandments; the God that the ancients dealt with. But this is not true. Much more is implied by the word God, than we may have realized.

As we all know the first place in the Bible where God is used is in the first chapter of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Hebrew word is Elohim, and this word occurs 2,700 times in the Bible. The contextual connection is with the creation, and illustrates its primary meaning, that of the divine family of Beings who did the creating.

Elohim is a plural word, and connotes more than one Personage.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt (or tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-14).

These verses tell us that it was Jesus Christ, the Logos, or Spokesman, a member of the divine Family of Elohim, that did the creating. These verses also tell us something else: that when Christ tells us to pray to Our Father, He wasn’t addressing the God of the Old Testament. Simply because the God of the Old Testament was the One who became Jesus Christ of the New Testament.

“God who at sundry times and in many ways spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).

The one personage of the dual name for God is Elohim. We see in the first verse of the Bible that the same One, who was to come into this world, was Jesus Christ.

In John 1:18 Jesus Christ made it very plain that no “man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.”

Jesus Christ came into this world to reveal the Father to the world for the very first time.

Notice Matthew 11:27: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knows the Son, but the Father, neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

The word Elohim connotes the Son as very God, as the living Word who did the creating. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers all things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:14-17).

Does the Bible back up that Elohim is plural, meaning more than one person? “And God (Elohim) said, let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). Note, He said US, denoting plurality.

The name for God is Jehovah which is a name used in the covenant relationship between God and man. This name means The Ever-living One, the Eternal, the One who was and is, and is to come.

Now this word Jehovah is combined with ten other words in the Bible, forming ten different titles for the divine personages.

  1. Jehovah-Jireh, meaning God will see, or provide (Gen. 22:14).
  2. Jehovah-Ropheka, meaning the God who heals us (Ex. 15:26).
  3. Jehovah-Nissi, meaning Jehovah my Banner, Shield (Ex. 17:15).
  4. Jehovah-McKaddishlem, meaning the God who sanctifies you, or sets you apart as holy (Lev. 20:8).
  5. Jehovah-Shalom, meaning the God who sends peace (Judges 6:24).
  6. Jehovah-Sabaoth, Jehoval of hosts, or multitudes (I Sam. 1:3).
  7. Jehovah-Zidkenu, meaning God our Righteousness (Jere. 33:16).
  8. Jehovah-Shammah, meaning God is there, emphasizing the nearness of God (Ezk. 48:35).
  9. Jehovah-Elyon, meaning the Most Hight God (Ps. 7:17).
  10. Jehovah-Roi, meaning Jehovah my Shepherd (Ps. 23:1).

David in writing the 23rd psalm uses seven of these. There are many other names of God in the Bible. A few are Jah, which is Jehoval in the special meaning of having become our Salvation.

El, which means the Almighty, and Eloah, which is God in connection with His will and purpose. This word is used primarily as the living God, in contrast to dead idols.

The word Adon is one of three additional titles all of which generally translated as Lord.

Adon is the Lord as Ruler in this earth. Adonai, the Lord in relationship to his earth. Adonim means generally the Lord who rules His own.

Christ said we are to show honor, respect and even awe toward the name of God by including in our prayer “Hallowed be Thy name.”

Jesus Christ intended that we come to understand the many names and titles of both Himself and His Father. That we come to know the usage of His names and tiles as they relate to various situations.

A good example of that would be that if we pray to God for healing, then it would be good idea or appropriate to remind God that one of His very names is Jehovah-Ropheka, God our Healer.

“And she (Mary) shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

The name Jesus is a proper name, coming from the Hebrew Joshua or Yashua. These names are interchangeable.

The Je prefix in the name as translated into English is indicative of the Hebrew Jah or Yah, together with the remainder of the word, means God our Savior or God who is our Salvation.

“Therefore, the Lord (Adonai) Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:13).

Immanuel means the Lord as connected to or in relationship with this earth, or God with us.

What is so fascinating about Jesus’ name, is that the apostles never, not once that we know of, call Jesus by His name. They always used the term “Master” or “Teacher or Lord,” these titles showed great respect. Now in their later writings they used the name Jesus but not to his face.

“Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7)

Using God’s name in profanity is a violation of this commandment, Profanity turns God’s face away from us. It insults His divine integrity.

It is a capital crime exactly on a par with murder, according to God’s law and will not go unpunished.

Using God’s name in profanity is a sin, just as it is sinful to use His name in monotonous repetition.

Leave it to man to devise methods of pretending not to swear, yet using similar sounding words and names, or using the first letters of Jesus Christ.

Such as Jeepers Creepers, Jeeze, or Jehoshaphat which includes a title of God. Gee Whiz, and Judas Priest, these are references, albeit supposedly indirect, to Jesus Christ. What about for “land’s sake,” or even use the name of Jerusalem as a byword.

The problem is that rebellious man has not really searched the Bible to see what God says to do and not to do. Read Matthew 5:33-37.

And yet we hear words like: merciful heavens, or heavens no. How many times have you heard people using various oaths to proclaim their honesty?

What about in our childhood, the nursey rhymes that teach us to ignore Jesus’ commands. The three little pigs, when refusing to allow the wolf into their house say: “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.”

In Matthew 6:36, Christ tells “we are not to swear by the head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.”

How many times have God’s people cried out” O God where are you when I need you.”

Maybe we have unknowingly severed contact with God because we have been overlooking the biblical requirements to successful prayer, placing barriers between ourselves and our Divine Father in heaven, so that He will not listen!

“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2)

The rest of this chapter is a powerful indictment against all who have not repented of sin, who have not come to God as a little child.

“We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves, we look for judgment, but there is none, for salvation but it is far  off from us.

For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them.

“In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the hearts words of falsehood” (vs. 10-13).

In other words, if we lack communication with God, it is not His fault, but ours.

God is there, He is waiting, listening, ready to receive our cries. Is He our Father? Are we His begotten children, repentant, of a contrite spirit, and humble heart? Do we really seek His will in our lives?

When we acknowledge the awesome holiness of God’s name, praying “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” we must realize how truly great is God to come to understand the limitless power which can be unleashed by His great name.

Look at the miracles that were accomplished by Jesus Christ and the apostles. If we study each case, it was through recognition of the awesome power inherent in God’s name.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also: and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto My Father. And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask any thing in my name I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

In His name means asking according to His will and purpose: asking according to His authority.

“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the 9th hour. Then Peter said, silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:1-9).

This man did not know who Peter and John were and he didn’t expect to be healed, but to receive money. This healing miracle brought a great crowd around Peter and John. Peter said: “Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this, or why look ye so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk” (v. 12).

God’s names are meant to convey to us His many divine attributes. His love, mercy, patience, His kindness, gentleness, goodness: His magnificent power His eternal character.

What about your name? Is it important to you? Do you know what your name means? Are you proud of your name?

The words name conveys reputation, and quality of character. When we speak a name our minds instantly give us the complete understanding of who we mean depending how well we know that person.

Search me O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

God loves a broken and contrite heart, a prayer of repentance, a deeply felt, sincere personal prayer for forgiveness.

“Praise ye the Lord, Praise O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised” (113:1-2).

When Christ said we should pray “Hallowed Be Thy Name” He intended we know the great and holy names of God and to know that those names and titles help us to understand God as our Father in heaven, to really come to know Him. Do you know him?

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