Vance Ferrell


  1. God's Name Is Sacred
  2. He Has Many Names
  3. The Name of God Should Be Hallowed
  4. The Meaning of the Third Commandment
  5. When Something Becomes Too Sacred
  6. When a Word Becomes Too Sacred
  7. Character Is the Issue
  8. The Unknown Name
  9. Why Speak an Ineffable Name?
  10. Believing the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy
  11. Why Not Use the Alternate Names?
  12. Some Questions Discussed
  13. The Ineffable Name
  14. The Hebrew Language
  15. YHWH in the Bible  
  16. The Meaning of Exodus 6:2-3
  17. The Hebrew and Greek for "God" in the KJV
  18. The Hebrew and Greek for "Lord" in the KJV
  19. The Primary Names of God in the Old Testament  
  20. The Names of God and Christ in the KJV
  21. Additional Quotations

"In order to strengthen our confidence in God, Christ teaches us to address Him by a new name, a name entwined with the dearest associations of the human heart. He gives us the privilege of calling the infinite God our Father. This name, spoken to Him and of Him, is a sign of our love and trust toward Him, and a pledge of His regard and relationship to us. Spoken when asking His favor or blessing, it is as music in His ears. That we might not think it presumption to call Him by this name, He has repeated it again and again. He desires us to become familiar with the appellation. "-Christ's Object Lessons, 141, 142. 

"Then press your petition to the Father in the name of Jesus. God will honor that name."-Christ's Object Lessons, 147, 148. 

"Let us study the life and death of Christ. Let us do all in our power to work out the plan of God. What tongue can tell, what pen unfold, the mighty results of looking to Jesus and living His life? How few of those claiming to be Christians have any real right to that sacred name.- The Upward Look, 200. 

"Heaven is a clean and holy place. God is pure and holy. All who come into His presence should take heed to His directions, and have the body and the clothing in a pure, clean condition, thus showing respect to themselves and to Him. The heart must also be sanctified. Those who do this will not dishonor His sacred name by worshiping Him while their hearts are polluted and their apparel is untidy."-Sons and Daughters of God, 173. 


Is the name of God sacred? What are we told about this important subject? We are thankful for the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. We can be sure that we would find our answer in those writings. However, there are historical facts, which should provide some useful help.


Although we may or may not believe the Sacred Name theory, we can very definitely believe in the sacredness of the Creator's name. It is sacred for two reasons:

First, although no man's name is sacred, His name is different. The sheer magnitude of all that our Creator is and all that He can do should properly awe us into deep humility.

Second, we are specifically told about that sacredness in His Word:

"May 14, 1851, I saw the beauty and loveliness of Jesus. As I beheld His glory, the thought did not occur to me that I should ever be separated from His presence. I saw a light coming from the glory that encircled the Father, and as it approached near to me, my body trembled and shook like a leaf. I thought that if it should come near me I would be struck out of existence, but the light passed me. Then could I have some sense of the great and terrible God with whom we have to do. I saw then what faint views some have of the holiness of God, and how much they take His holy and reverend name in vain, without realizing that it is God, the great and terrible God, of whom they are speaking. While praying, many use careless and irreverent expressions, which grieve the tender Spirit of the Lord and cause their petitions to be shut out of heaven." -Early Writings. 70.

"I saw that God's name should be used with reverence and awe. The words God Almighty are coupled together and used by some in prayer in a careless, thoughtless manner, which is displeasing to Him. Such have no realizing sense of God or the truth, or they would not speak so irreverently of the great and dreadful God, who is soon to judge them in the last day. Said the angel, 'Couple them not together; for fearful is His name: Those who realize the greatness and majesty of God, will take His name on their lips with holy awe. He dwelleth in light unapproachable; no man can see Him and live. I saw that these things will have to be understood and corrected before the church can prosper." -Early Writings, 122.

It is clear that the name of our God is sacred. How should we relate to it? In the above two passages we are told how this should be done: (1) We should take it upon our lips when necessary, but not more often than necessary. (2) We should both think and speak of it amid an attitude of reverence. For this reason, the present writer tries not mention the Creator's name any more than is necessary. And what is that name? According to the above passage, when communicating to fellow human beings in English that name is God.


The Wonderful One who made us has many names. He has, in Scripture, given us a variety of names by which to speak of, and to,

Him. The present writer prefers to especially use that one which is so very personal, and so very sweet. We find it discussed in Matthew 5:6:

"After this manner therefore pray ye: 'Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.'"-Matthew 6:9.

In this passage (and in Luke 11 :2), Jesus explains to all who would be His disciples the name by which they should pray to their Maker: "Our Father."

What a most wonderful name! And how very accurate! He is such a very good Father; He made us and continually provides us with countless blessings. Lest you think that the first verse of the Lord's Prayer is a slip of the tongue, Jesus repeats that name both before and after giving that prayer to us, His disciples (see Matthew 6:6 and 6:14-15). Indeed, the Ruler of the universe is called our "Father" 12 times in this one chapter alone! Read it for yourself (Matthew 6).

In fact, you will find that the appellation, "Father," is the name given to Him 256 times in the New Testament! Throughout the four Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation He is called our Father. (He is called "the Father," "my Father," or "our Father" in every one of the New Testament books, except 3 John.)

In the Spirit of Prophecy, we also find very clear evidence that this is a special name we may refer to Him by:

"In calling God our father, we recognize all His children as our brethren. . The infinite God. said Jesus, makes it your privilege to approach Him by the name of Father: Understand all that this implies. No earthly parent ever pleaded so earnestly with an erring child as He who made you pleads with the transgressor. No human, loving interest ever followed the impenitent with such tender invitations." Mount of Blessing, 105.

Read the entire section in that book, beginning on page 103. This privilege of calling Him "our Father," brings with it an accompanying responsibility:

"But if you call God your Father you acknowledge yourselves His children, to be guided by His wisdom and to be obedient in all things, knowing that His love is changeless. You will accept His plan for your life. As children of God, you will hold His honor, His character, His family, His work, as the objects of your highest interest. It will be your joy to recognize and honor your relation to your Father and to every member of His family. You will rejoice to do any act, however humble, that will tend to His glory or to the well-being of your kindred."-Mount of Blessing, 105-106.

Which people on earth would have a special right to speak of God as their Father? It would be His commandment-keeping people! The worldlings who refuse obedience to His law may acknowledge Him as "God," but they are not revealing, by their lives, that they acknowledge Him as their "Father." He may, indeed, be their true heavenly Father, but, by their disobedience to the fourth commandment, are unwilling to enter into that close relationship, as His sons and daughters, described in Scripture.

Please do not misunderstand: We are not here saying that "Father" is the only name whereby the Creator must be spoken of or to. But it is a special, personal name. Let no man tell you that only one of His wonderful names may be used. He has many very meaningful names in Scripture; we will discuss some of them later in this study. In addition, when we speak of Him as "Father," we use His other sacred names ("God," etc.) less frequently in our day-to-day conversation.


As quoted in the Early Writings passages above, the name of God should only be taken upon our lips with reverence. But we can become self-deceived on this subject of treating His name sacredly. According to God's Word, we should speak His name with deep reverence, and not use it more than necessary.

In view of that fact, it is a strange twist of principle to say that "using His name sacredly" instead means to never speak His name in its English translation, but only in Hebrew.

The question is not whether God's name is sacred, but how are we to relate to that sacredness. Here is what we are told in the Spirit of Prophecy about what it means to sacredly regard the name of God:

"To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. 'Holy and reverend is His name.' Psalm 111:9. We are never in any manner to treat lightly the titles or appellations of the Deity. In prayer we enter the audience chamber of the Most High; and we should come before Him with holy awe. The angels veil their faces in His presence. The cherubim and the bright and holy seraphim approach His throne with solemn reverence. How much more should we, finite, sinful beings. come in a reverent manner before the Lord, our Maker!"-Mount of Blessing, 106.

So that is what it means to hallow the name of God! It is the reverent way we speak the name. But, as for the particular name, we are not required to use a particular one of the  many given in Scripture, In addition, God's Word explains that "hallowing His name" means more than just being reverent when we think, speak, and write it. To treat the name of our Creator with genuine sacredness, also means to live like Him! In entering into such reverence, we go beyond mere words, to our way of life. It involves our very thoughts and actions.

"But to hallow the name of the Lord means much more than this. We may, like the Jews in Christ's day manifest the greatest outward reverence for God. and yet profane His name continually. 'The name of the Lord' is 'merciful and gracious. long-suffering. and abundant in goodness and truth, . . forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.' Exodus 34:5-7. Of the church of Christ it is written. 'This is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness: Jeremiah 33: 16. This name is put upon every follower of Christ. It is the heritage of the child of God. The family are called after the Father. The prophet Jeremiah, in the time of Israel's sore distress and tribulation, prayed, 'We are called by Thy name; leave us not:. Jeremiah 14:9.

"This name is hallowed by the angels of heaven. by the inhabitants of unfallen worlds. When you pray. 'Hallowed be Thy name: you ask that it may be hallowed in this world. hallowed in you. God has acknowledged you before men and angels as His child; pray that you may do no dishonor to the 'worthy name by which ye are called: James 2:7. God sends you into the world as His representative. In every act of life you are to make manifest the name of God. This petition calls upon you to possess His character. You cannot hallow His name. you cannot represent Him to the world, unless in life and character you represent the very life and character of God. This you can do only through the acceptance of the grace and righteousness of Christ." -Mount of Blessing. 106-107.


"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold Him guiltless that taketh His name in vain." -Exodus 20:7.

"But," someone will say, "does not the third commandment require us to use the Hebrew name for 'God"'?

Our heavenly Father, in His Inspired Word, has told us exactly what the third commandment requires us to do:

"This commandment not only prohibits false oaths and common swearing, but it forbids us to use the name of God in a light or careless manner, without regard to its awful significance. By the thoughtless mention of God in common conversation, by appeals to Him in trivial matters, and by the frequent and thoughtless repetition of His name, we dishonor Him. 'Holy and reverend is His name: Psalm 111:9. All should meditate upon His majesty, His purity and holiness, that the heart may be impressed with a sense of His exalted character; and His holy name should be uttered with reverence and solemnity." -Patriarchs and Prophets, 306-307.

We are not commanded, anywhere in the Spirit of Prophecy, to only use the original Hebrew form of one name, or any name, of our Creator. And, according to the theory, we are told that, whatever our native language, we must use only one name, and not the many others given us by our Maker in the Bible. Instead, the focus is on our conduct and "the thoughtless repetition of His name." From the above quotation we see that unnecessary repetitions of His holy name should not be done by us His children. To do so in some contexts can border on a species of swearing. We are His children and we are indeed to acknowledge ourselves as His children and servants. But reverence for His awesome majesty, power, and sovereignty will lead us not to speak His name more than necessary. 


Man has a tendency to worship objects instead of his Maker. We should not concretize something and place it before our attention so thoroughly that it stands in the place of God. To prevent us from doing that, we were given the second commandment. Is it possible that we may be making such an "image" and "likeness," when we insist that only one word, pronounced in only a certain way, can be used in reference to our Creator-and then we look upon those who do so as worshipers of a false god? When a word becomes more sacred than Christian experience and our likeness to God, then we may be worshiping the word instead of the One Whom it is supposed to represent. We tend to worship objects. 

The story of Nehushtan is a powerful example of this. The brazen serpent represented Christ, and was given to the Israelites in the wilderness as an object lesson. We all know the story, as given in Numbers 21. Few things in the Old Testament provided His people with a more solemn clarification of the sacrifice of Christ. Yet it was God that ought to be venerated, not the brazen serpent.

That brazen form was treasured by the people and, in later centuries, became an object of worship. They took something good and, by making it the center of their religious life and worship, transformed it into a hindrance to right living and true worship.

"He removed the high places. and brake the images. and cut down the groves. and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan."-2 Kings 18:4.

The brazen serpent was given to the Israelites to teach them a most important lesson about the work of God for mankind. But. many centuries later, they began venerating the object! In response, good king Hezekiah called it what it was: Nehushtan, just "a piece of brass."

We today can do the same thing to one of His names. It may indeed represent our Maker and point us to Him. But we dare not transform the name itself into the seat of worship. Each of God's names in the Bible has a special meaning. We value each one, as we value all the others. But we are not to single out one of those names to the exclusion of all the others, and declare that it is the only one which can be used. No one in Bible times did that! Nether did Ellen White! All the Inspired prophets used a variety of names when speaking to or about their Creator.

In the original Hebrew, one of the names of God was YHWH. Like all the other names and appellations of our Maker, it was special. But we are not to cast out the others, and use that one name exclusively. Nowhere are we given such an example in the Inspired Writings. Nowhere are we told that we must only use it in its original Hebrew form.

Is there not a danger that some of us today may make a nehushtan of a word? Are we safe in going beyond Scripture, and denouncing those who believe in "God" and "Jesus Christ" as apostates and the Antichrist? Think about it.