(By Christopher Fredrickson host of Brutal Planet and the PaRDeS Radio Parshat HaShavuah)
Many of you may have noticed in the past year I have slowly stopped using the sacred name for God, and I owe many of you an explanation and know my intention is not to offend but rather maybe bestow upon you a little mussar on the subject. There was an issue when I was reading the Parshat HaShavuah (weekly Torah reading) on the radio about a year ago I saw some variations that were rather striking in two different english versions and I started then to read the Portions on my own time in the Hebrew and in doing so I discovered many of the names for God that were actually used all through the Torah and the Writings and noticed it did not always translate to one particular way. Also in my rabbinic studies there was something once mentioned to me about something called the Shem HaMephorash which is the ineffable name of God and I was told it was made up of 216 letters, and in a reading in Deuteronomy in the Hebrew on my own time I was able to find it, and only in the Hebrew and not in the English. But I had a hard time with this cause I noticed that God had several names in the Tanach and in the Ketvim Netzarim (the writings of the Netzarim also known as the New Testament). Now in terms of the 4 letter name there is no vowel points and we will get to the history of this later on. But for now we need to look at one common issue.
All through the Scripture we see the verses that say, "in my name", "for my name sake", and "proclaim my name" and so this really put me on the fence here and I am saying, "well which one?" then I saw it said as well, "there is only through one name one can be saved" and the word for salvation is "Yeshua" and the light bulb went on at that point. I then said, well if my name were to be translated into Hebrew from the English in Hebrew form, my father's name would be added to my name, and given that my last name has not Hebrew equivalent it would essentially be "Christopher Walter (no Fredrickson cause Fredrickson cannot be rendered in Hebrew) son of John" so therefore it would be "Moshiach ben Yochanan" my father's name is attached to mine as would be your's as well, for you women it would be bat as opposed to ben. But we see something striking here. Cause notice those being spoken to in the exodus where these verses are always uttered to are "the CHILDREN of Yisrael" or "The sons of men" meaning to profane the name of God would be to have said to be attached to him and to act like a heathen. He is essentially saying when he says, "in my name" or "for my name sake" is that you are attached to Him and do not make Him look bad.
We constantly talk about the Torah being a marriage covenant between us and our Creator. So then when we look at that, if your spouse does something horrible, does it just reflect on them? Or does it reflect upon you and your family? How many times when you were younger and you messed up, did your parents talk about how you're actions gave a bad reflection of them? Chances are they did because you are a mirror of your parents and a wife is the mirror of her husband and the husband is a mirror of his wife and a student is a mirror of his rabbi and you are also a mirror of whom the God is you serve. That is what Hashem is stressing to us. For he is hoping we heeded the ideals he set forth at Sinai when he spoke against witchcraft in the book of Deuteronomy, incantations of witchcraft are dependent upon proper recitation of certain phrases and words for a witches incantation to be brought forth. This is essentially the same message of the fringe groups in the Messianic sect. So brethren when Hashem said, "in my name" He is not talking about phonetics and He hopes one would have at some point known we are not to follow after the ways of the heathen.
Can I prove that there is strong Biblical evidence this premise? Ohhh can I ever. But first we must establish the fact that the New Testament is a Jewish text, can we all agree to that? Good. The book of Luke, is written on what is called the Remez level of interpretation, which uses 14 rules from Rabbi Eliazar and I covered this in my video and mp3 teaching on Biblical Hermeneutics in terms of the 4 gospels and the 4 levels of interpretation known as PaRDeS. Now many scholars have derived that the book of Luke, even in it's purest state was transmitted orally for some time till it was written, which in the Jewish tradition I would say they are correct, given the fact the Remez level has a longer oral tradition than the Mishna and is known as the Gemera. So when a character is mentioned, you are to know who the guy is and his significance when the book of Luke mentions a character by name, otherwise Luke would have just said, "ugh some dude" as opposed to mentioning a guy's name especially one so highly revered in the Jewish community.
And now there was a certain man in Urishlim; His name was Shimon. And this man was just and righteous and was waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Ruach haKodesh was upon him. And it had been said to him by the Ruach haKodesh that he would not see death until he saw the Mashiyach of Master Hashem. He came by the Spirit to the temple, and when his parents brought the boy Y’shua to do on his behalf as is commanded in Torah, He received him upon his arms and blessed Elohim and said, “Now dismiss your servant in peace my Master according to your Word. For behold my eyes have (seen) your mercy, That which you have prepared before the face of all nations, a light for the revelation to the Gentiles. And a glory to your people Israel.”
Many of you are saying, "ok big deal...so what?" Do you know who this man is? The verse tells us exactly who this is and it also fortifies the accounts as being accurate based upon the death of this man whom Luke calls "righteous". Therefore this man would have been known as "Shimon HaTzaddik" Simon the Righteous. Some individuals would say, "no the same guy because Shimon HaTzaddik died around 200BCE. I would then contest that even Hillel the Elder who created the calendar used by many today even cited that 400 years of history was lost during the diaspora. And the 200 BCE mark is based upon a gregorianized conversion of a calendar that has many missing years, which when we look at Luke chapter 1 we see that Elishwa's husband was standing guard during the time of Shimon HaTzaddik's time as high priest. This is also what the Talmud says about Shimon HaTzaddik.
During Simeon’s administration seven miracles are said to have taken place. A blessing rested on the offering of the first fruits, on the two sacrificial loaves, and on the loaves of showbread, in that, although each priest received a portion no larger than an olive, he ate and was satiated without even consuming the whole of it; the lot cast for God (see Lev. xvi.8) always came into the right hand; the red thread around the neck of the goat or ram invariably became white on the Day of Atonement; the light in the Temple never failed; and the fire on the altar required but little wood to keep it burning (Yoma 39b; Men. 109b; Yer. Yoma vi.3)
and the kicker......
After Simeon’s death men ceased to utter the Tetragrammaton aloud (Yoma 30b; Tosef, Soṭah, xiii.).
What also fortifies that this was indeed Shimon HaTzaddik who visited Yeshua at a young age?
The year that he died, he predicted, "This year I am going to die." When they asked him how he knew, he answered, "Every Yom Kippur an elderly man dressed in white and wrapped in white would enter and leave the Holy of Holies with me. Today, though, an elderly man dressed in black and wrapped in black entered with me but he did not come out with me." After the holiday of Sukkot he fell ill for seven days and then he died. That year the kohanim did not mention the Tetragramaton while reciting the priestly blessing (Yoma 39b).
Why is this significant? Many says that Yeshua was born during Sukkos correct? And notice that Shimon HaTzaddik died after Sukkos. Which makes sense of this verse in Luke 2. “Now dismiss your servant in peace my Master according to your Word. For behold my eyes have (seen) your mercy, That which you have prepared before the face of all nations, a light for the revelation to the Gentiles. And a glory to your people Israel.” And it was said in Talmud Berachos 64a "Simeon the Righteous said, 'for I will not go to my peace of rest until I have met the Messiah of Israel"
Now let it be known, I am not in any way attacking people who use the sacred name in any form. That is not my job, I used the sacred name for many years, and many who do not know Hebrew or Aramaic, will fall into the traps of the sacred name movement and I did for many years. But after much study and after reading the chumash in Hebrew, I personally have decided to hold the sacred name as something holy, and not something tossed around willy nilly, I personally now only recite it during the time of Yom Kippur and it is much more magnified when it is guarded in this way, it is then no longer common it is then something that has a major significance when it is said. Some early in their walk may be offended by this article and for that I am sorry, but after years of moving forward in your walk you will see the same thing.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah at Beit Geulah in Morganton, NC (www.BeitGeulah.com)