The Sign of the Divine NAME

In the ancient Jewish temple, once a year the people would be outside making a loud noise and song, while inside a priest would shout the full Divine NAME of God and call upon the Lord. To this day this shout occurs in silence, in the Holy Orthodox Church. It occurs through the Icon on the back wall.

And this sign was foretold in Isaiah, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”[1] And prior to that, David foretold and not in a boring[2] way:

My heart overflowed with a good word: I tell my works to the King; my tongue is the pen of a swift-writing scribe. You are more beautiful than the sons of men: Grace was poured out on Your lips; Therefore God blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One. In Your splendor and Your beauty. And stretch Your bow, and grant prosperity, and reign because of truth, gentleness, and righteousness, and Your right hand shall guide You wondrously.

Your arrows are sharp, O Mighty One (The peoples shall fall under You), in the heart of the King’s enemies. Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; Your royal scepter is a scepter of uprightness. You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, anointed You with oil of gladness more than Your companions.

Myrrh and stacte[3] and cassia[4] pour forth from your garments, from the ivory palaces from which they gladdened You. There are daughters of kings in Your honor; the queen stood at Your right hand in apparel interwoven with gold and adorned and embroidered with various colors.

Listen, O daughter, behold and incline your ear, and forget your people and your father’s house; for the King desired your beauty, for He is your Lord. And the daughters of Tyre shall worship Him with gifts; the rich among the people shall entreat your favor. All her glory as the King’s daughter is within, adorned and embroidered with golden tassels.

The virgins behind her shall be brought to the King. Her neighbors shall be brought to You; they shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing; they shall be led into the temple of the King.

In place of your fathers, sons shall be born to you; you shall make them rulers over all the earth. They shall remember your name from generation to generation; therefore, peoples shall give thanks to you forever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

It is permissible to record and to explain the abbreviated NAME of the Lord, Yahweh or in letter YWHW.

The Icon “The Sign” in at Saint Mary’s Orthodox Church
Ancient Hebrew Letter Hei, like one seated with Arms up to reveal

Notice that in the picture of the Icon from the back of an Orthodox Church, Mary’s arms are out-stretched and she is seated as Jesus’ throne. This resembles the ancient Hebrew letter Hei, which means reveal. It is through Mary that the Logos is revealed, and not only the Incarnate Logos, but also the Divine NAME found in these icons, the abbreviation of the full NAME. And of Jesus Christ, we recall, “Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.”[5]

Jesus is the God man, fully human, fully divine, and as such Jesus is as the letter Vav. In Jesus hand is a scroll, and his garment forms a scroll about His right hand. The scroll contains the 10 Commandments, and we remember Yod, 10, the Commandments given by the Father and recall, “Nail my flesh to the fear of thee.” With the scroll Yod in the strong arm of the Father, with the revelation through the Mother Hei of the Son Vav revealed in the Church, Hei, we have the abbreviation of the Divine Name in Orthodox Churches in iconography:

Ancient Hebrew read right to left, Yod, Hei, Vav, Hei

The final Hei, the final revelation is Jesus with outstretched arms on the Cross, where Jesus reveals the Father and His will, that the Son should be raised up and sacrificed for our sins. So the manifestation of the full NAME is the Life of the Incarnate Immanuel, God with us and manifest.

The sign is proof of the Apostolic faith the Orthodox hold as the Gospel of John revealed that Jesus said:

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name to the men which thou gave me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gave them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

For I have given to them the words which thou gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou did send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own NAME those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy NAME: those that thou gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.[6]


Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou loved me before the foundation of the world.

O righteous Father, the world has not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared to them thy NAME and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.[7]

The Holy Icon of the Mother of God and Jesus on her lap, “The Sign”, conveys the love of the Father through the picture of the Mother and Son. And that parental love shown in the Icon is with the NAME of the Lord which the Lord declares YWHW.

Orthodox unity is not therefore based on the Pope or Bishop of Rome, but rather in the NAME of the Lord revealed to His Apostles, so we are rightly called and claim to be One Holy Catholic and Apostolic. We are Catholic in all time, from alpha to omega, from aleph to tav, from beginning to ending. We are Holy in the revelation of the NAME and as we have kept faith with the Apostles, Orthodox form the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

 For the Father is the head of the household of God, and His NAME is Holy and Divine. The Rock of repentance, of Peter, is the Rock upon which the Church of Christ is built, and we who are Christians are of the family of Christ Himself and co-heirs with the Son in the Kingdom of the Father.

Saint John The Theologian has provided us this prayer of Jesus Christ, THE LORD, and clearly our unity is in The NAME;

Holy Father, keep through thine own NAME those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Such beautiful iconography of the NAME may be found in some traditional western Catholic Churches as well.  The theology of unity upon which the Rock of repentance is built is on the everlasting NAME. It is not defined by Saint Thomas Aquinas who cast his own summa away as straw, nor is it built on the sand of nationalism including that of Rome Italy, nor is it built by any Earthly kingdom or tradition, but rather through the Father’s NAME. And Jesus is not praying to the Pope when He says, “Holy Father.”

There is a tragic loss of Western Roman Catholicism that has placed a vicarious, or ante father as the union of Christians, rather than realizing Saint John the Theologian and Beloved has recorded for us the prayer of the Son to the Father, and that is through the Father’s NAME we are to be kept as one.

But not all hope is lost for the West. There is the fattened Calf which shows “The Sign” and is one of few iconographic symbols that manifest The NAME in western Christianity. This shows a historic tie to the disciples, and for the Roman Catholics, something spectacular in their tradition, and wonderful.

The Sign in The West, the Fatted Calf, Our Lady of Guadalupe

[1] Isaiah 7:14

[2] Isaiah complains about the household of David, but David himself revealed the sign before Isaiah, and through Moses the sign was revealed by the promise, by the declaration of the curses man brough on himself, and by Adam who called Eve the mother of All Living, for our God is ever alive!

[3] Incense restricted for sacred purposes honoring YWHW.

[4] Cassia is a type of cinnamon

[5] Nicene Creed

[6] John 17:5-14

[7] John 17:24-26

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