In Exodus chapter three, Moses asks the Lord how he should respond if the children of Israel ask him what is His name. God said thus shall you say, “I Am has sent me unto you. This is my name for ever and my memorial unto all generations”. Exodus 3:13-15.
Here memorial is used for zeker which for consistency and application should have been translated remembrance. Keep in mind that the Lord is preparing to bring the congregation out of bondage with a great deliverance. On this historic occasion, the people are given a name for them to call out in all generations for deliverance from their enemies.
This inconsistency translating zeker is repeated in Hosea chapter twelve. After declaring his controversy with Judah, the Lord again declares Himself as Deliverer of Israel in verse five: even the Lord God of hosts, the Lord is His memorial (zeker). Hosea 12:5.
Again zeker is translated memorial, rather than remembrance, when the point is to call on the name of the Lord to be remembered.
This is the language of covenant. When Moses first asked for a name, the Lord declared Hayah hayah, I Am That I Am. Hayah is the Hebrew root from which is derived YHVH. In the same way that the name of remembrance is shortened to I Am, YHVH is shortened:
Sing unto God, sing praises to His name, extol Him that rides upon the heavens by His name Yah (Yahu), and rejoice before Him. Psalm 68:4.
Yahu is incorporated into many Hebrew names such as Elijah in English translations. In Hebrew though the name is Yahu, Eliyahu for Elijah, Yirmiyahu for Jeremiah, etc. Thus the name of remembrance for the people of God to cry out for deliverance is Yahu!
The Lord declared unto Moses; I am the Lord and I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name YHVH was I not known to them. Exodus 6:2 & 3.
This becomes all powerful when we acknowledge that when God remembers from heaven, actions result on earth. In Genesis God remembered Noah (8:1), Abraham (19:29), and Rachel (30:22). Prayers were answered and promises were kept.
When we acknowledge our forgetfulness, especially in times of rest and plenty, we can understand what God has provided for us.
For He has made His wonderful works to be remembered, the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. Psalms 111:4.
Now that the difference between memorial and remembrance has been set before our understanding, we can consider one of the Lord’s most important and final commandments.
He took bread and gave thanks and broke it, and gave unto them saying this is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Luke 22:19.
The practice of breaking bread in fellowship became the foundation of Christian fellowship in the book of Acts. Paul writes: for I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. He goes on to describe the last supper, including the command to do this in remembrance of me. 1 Co 11:23-25.
Paul was not a participant at the last supper and had not been welcomed into the fellowship of the church in Jerusalem due to his fearful reputation. Yet the new communities were established in the breaking of bread in fellowship. The breaking of bread is not given to practice as a memorial before God, but a remembrance in the Lord’s sight. Jesus said: “for when two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.
This gathering together is initiated by the proper breaking of bread. Continuing in 1 Co 11, Paul warns that not breaking bread properly is to bring damnation on to yourselves. To allow breaking bread to become empty ritual, or to completely neglect the act as obsolete is to deny the very presence of the Lord into your fellowship.
Paul concludes: for this cause many have become infirm and many have died. 1 Co 11:30.
From Luke 24 we know that the presence of the Lord in fellowship is essential to a right understanding of His word. After his resurrection, Jesus meets with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and has a conversation which is given to us as a memorial. After the breaking of bread they knew him for their eyes were opened, and He then vanished from their sight.
And they said to one another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Returning to Jerusalem they gave their testimony of how He was known of them in breaking of bread. Luke 24:32-35.
This is the Lord’s remembrance. This is to know Him. Now is the time for believers to enter into the ministry of the burning heart. To break the bread of sincerity and truth. To call on the name of the Lord in remembrance of His mercy.
Peter said; I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance. 2 Peter 3:1.
For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life unto the world. John 6:33.
The name of remembrance is used to call on the Lord, especially for deliverance from enemies. Furthermore, to show that this name is a new revelation, the Lord tells Moses: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name YHVH was I not known to them. Exodus 6:3.
Yet this Holy Name of God manages to be inserted by scribes into narratives found in the book of Genesis 141 times. Since that time, there has existed much controversy over the use of this name. Rabbis teach that use of the Name should be avoided completely for fear of using the name in vain. Out of consideration for this concern, most English translations render YHVH simply as The Lord.
This point of contention was dealt with by the Lord Jesus Christ in a most innovative way. When Jesus spoke of God, He routinely referred to Him as “The Father”. He taught His disciples to pray: “Our Father”.
The apostle Paul encourages us to be just as intimate with the Father, teaching us:
For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15.
While Paul teaches us to be set free from a spirit of slavery and address God as Daddy, it is fear itself that has lead many to avoid the name of remembrance given to Moses. As mentioned, the name is avoided in most English translations by using The Lord.
The English translation used by many Messianic Jews is called the Tree of Life Version of the Old and New Testaments. This translation has gone full circle and replaced The Lord with Adonai. Adonai is derived from the word Adon, which is lord in a common form. For example, Sarai addressed Abram as “my Lord”, Rebekah addresses Abraham’s head servant the same way when he comes seeking a wife for Isaac. Adonai is in fact sanctified, being used only in reference to The Lord, but it is not the Holy Name of remembrance given to Moses in Exodus 3. You will need a concordance to know when Adonai is actually used in the original text and when it is substituting for YHVH. In the Tree of Life Version (TLV), Psalm 103:1 becomes:
Bless Adonai, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.
For anyone who has been taught the English language, this statement implies that the holy Name of God is Adonai. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as the substitution has been made for YHVH. Through a series of mental gymnastics, the holy Name of God has been replaced by a Hebrew word that is derived from the common word Adon, for my Lord. This is drinking the wine of astonishment! Psalm 60:3.
Adonai spoke to Aaron saying: “Do not drink wine or fermented drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, so that you do not die. This is to be a statute forever throughout your generations. You are to make a distinction between the holy and the common and between the unclean and the clean. Lev. 10:9&10.
They will teach My people the difference between the holy and the common and explain to them the difference between the unclean and the clean. Ezekiel 44:23.
Now this is where translation becomes a bit ludicrous. Here is Psalm 135:1 in the TLV: Halleluyah! Praise the Name of Adonai. Give praise, O servants of Adonai—
First of all, Adonai does not appear in this verse. More importantly the Hebrew halal Yah is found and translated Halleluyah. This expression is used frequently in the Psalms and is often simply translated Praise the Lord. Yah is a contracted form of YHVH and used 41 times in the Old Testament. Typically it is also translated “the Lord” beginning in Exodus 15:
The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: Tree of Life substitutes: Adonai is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.
So Adonai replaces Yah in most verses, with the exception of when it is preceded by halal. I suppose Halleli Adonai would be pretty awkward, and Halleluyah is one of the most familiar expressions in all of Christianity. Of course, so is Praise the Lord!
The question being asked then, is it appropriate for the original text to be mistranslated to satisfy a tradition of men. What would Yeshua say?
Then Yeshua said, “Woe to you Torah lawyers as well, for you weigh the people down with burdens hard to carry… Luke 11:46.
The apostle Paul teaches that Messiah came to take down the wall of separation between Jew and gentile. Woe to anyone that tries to maintain that wall for the sake of a tradition.
We have a better name, a name above all names. His name is Yeshua and He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Son of God.
The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he will never leave it. And on him I will write the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My own new Name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.” Revelations 3:12, 13.