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Taking Upon Names


David T

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I've come to a bit of a conclusion that when we tend to associate names as being something static, attached permanently to individuals, we tend to close ourselves in boxes, and lose a lot of the important and highly significant teachings of the Gospel.

I used to be quite the stickler. I found anglicization of names such as "Jehovah" (YHWH), "Jesus" (Yeshua), "James" (Yakkov), "Isaiah" (Isayahu!), etc highly frustrating. I got annoyed when Elohim is pronounced "Ello-him" instead of ello-heem".

I wondered why the Savior accepted corruptions of his original Names in the Restoration instead of restoring their original perfect versions.

Until I realized: all written names are are labels to communicate and to stand as symbols for roles. As long as there is a standardized usage in His Church, he doesn't care.

"Elohim" is a title we use to refer to the Father God: The Father of Spirits, and diviser of the great plan of Salvation. "Jehovah" is what we use to designate the Firstborn Son of the holder of the "Elohim" label, who is also the Creator God, holding the keys of the creations of "Elohim", who will become incarnate in the Savior/Atoning Figure. "Michael" is another son of Elohim who participates in creation, and is an 'archangel' (ruling representative), who will later be incarnate into a mortal life, and Resurrected, and progress to the point where he can receive the Name of "Elohim".

"Adam" is a title specifically for the First Man of a world, and also signifies all mankind in general. "Eve", a "mother of all living" is a spouse to an "Adam".

Understanding these as representatives of titles, one can then see many scriptural themes that no longer become bound to space and time.

The endowment narrative, for example, can easily be adapted by use of these 'types' to tell the story of how OUR Elohim went from being a 'Michael' to an 'Adam' and then became our 'Elohim' , and how his wife progressed along side him to be the 'Mother of All Living' which our Eve was named after.

We can see the story of our present progression. We can see in it our destiny. We can see patterns, filled with types and not just history.

When we see angel names like Michael ("who is like God"), Gabriel ("strength of God"), Raphael ("God Heals"), we see attributes delegated to individuals who we often glue to the title. We have been taught that Adam is Michael, and Noah is Gabriel. But is Michael always Adam, and is Gabriel always Noah? Are Peter, James and John always Peter, James and John? Is Elias always Elijah?"

I have come to believe these 'names' are 'keys' designating attributes. Jehovah (YHWH), "He who causes to be", is an attribute of Elohim that has been delegated to him. Jehovah, acting as Creator, then delegates out other attributes to others, in the persons of angels/representatives.

When we take names through the temple, we are not those individuals, but we act as them. We take upon ourselves their names. At the same time, we are acting in the name of and through the authority of the Son of God whose right and authority it is to act vicariously for all the children of God.

This applies to priesthood offices, too. "Elder", "Teacher", "Priest" "Bishop" aren't words with eternal significance, and don't all even have to have a one-on-one correspondance to the KJV usages of those words in the New Testament. But the Savior accepted them as stand-ins for Titles/Symbols of the power they represented. The Nephites probably didn't use the name 'Jesus Christ'. But the symbol we'd understand for what they did use was presented in the interpretation from God.

Taking the name of The LORD (YHWH) in vain isn't merely using it as a swear word, it's taking upon the power and authority in a way incompatible to the purpose and delegation of that authority.

When we're taught that everything in the temple is symbolic, that is also true of the individuals represented. Symbols can be slid around and applied to other individuals in different times to express a message that would be understood in terms of the individuals at a certain time and culture.

And the Lord approves names/symbols for each time/place that are acceptable to him, even if they are not accompanied by a historic pedigree.

In saying Hallowed be thy Name, I believe the Savior was referring to the reverence he had for the authority God had delegated to Him, and a statement of the way in which he treasured and tried to live up to the great responsibility he'd been given.

YHWH is an aspect, and name of 'Elohim'. When speaking in that aspect, YHWH is the name of Elohim. But a separate figure, his firstborn Son, has also had placed upon him this sacred Name of God, and is in this role that he was the Spokesman/Great Angel of Israel.

I think an understanding of this principle frees up a lot of confusion and worry over correlating things that really have no need of being correlated. In some things, we worry about them more than God does.

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I agree. Names had meaning. There is several instances in the Bible where babies were named for events occurring at the moment, such as Esau (hairy) and Ishmael (God who hears). I just wonder what some of the names in the Book of Mormon mean, like Nephi, Mosiah, or Helaman.

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I just wonder what some of the names in the Book of Mormon mean, like Nephi, Mosiah, or Helaman.

I'm of the opinion that Nephi is a cognate of Nabi ("prophet").

Mosiah has meanings similar to Moses and Messiah.

I don't have an opinion about Helaman, but I've read in a Farms study that it is believed to be of Egyptian origin. I don't recall the supposed meaning.

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Along these same lines I just finished reading a fairly old book (1985) called "Gospel Symbolism" by Joseph Fielding McConkie. It deals with the meaning of names in the scriptures and the use of various symbols throughout various dispensations and how they all are related and some of the significance that we often overlook in these things.

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