1. We know what we worship

Salvation is from the Jews

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman by the well:

“You worship what you do not know, we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).

By this statement, Jesus brought us two truths:

  • only the Jews had the proper understanding of God, and
  • our salvation requires a proper understanding of God.

You may be surprised to hear that our salvation requires a true understanding of God. But, we are going to find out, that this is indeed the Bible’s teaching.

John 17:3
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

There are many Christians in the world today who are not going to be saved, because they do not have the correct belief about God.

Revelation 14:9-10
If anyone worships the beast and his image… he will also drink of the wine of the wrath of God

So what was the understanding of God that was held by the Jews?

The Jews knew that God was nameless in the Old Testament

The Jews understood that God was nameless in the Old Testament.

In the 5th Century, Theodoret of Cyrus, wrote:

“The Jews call it AIA (I WILL BE) while the Samaritans call it YABE.” 1

In the 19th Century, William Gesenius developed a theory of the name YAHWEH, using YABE, the name used by the Samaritans. But, as Jesus explained, the Samaritans worshipped that which they did not know. Only the Jews understood that God was nameless in the Old Testament. 2

The Jews knew that men have only seen God’s Messenger, “the Word”

To this day, the Jewish people believe that no one has seen God at any time. Men have only seen God’s Messenger, who was “the Word.”

Jesus Himself described the meaning of “the Word” when He said: “No one knows the Father but the Son” (Matthew 11:27); “You have neither heard His voice nor seen His form at any time” (John 5:37).

The Word was the visible God, who spoke on behalf of the invisible God, in the Old Testament.

The expression “the Word” in the Old Testament

“The Word” was called the creator in Psalms 33:6, “By the Word of YHVH (He WILL BE), the heavens were made.”

He WILL BE was the shared name of God and His Word.

In 1 Samuel 3:21, we read: “Then YHVH (He WILL BE) appeared again in Shiloh. For YHVH (He WILL BE) revealed Himself in Shiloh by the Word of YHVH (He WILL BE).”

The Word of YHVH (He WILL BE) was the YHVH (He WILL BE) who appeared to Samuel in Shiloh, on behalf of the invisible YHVH (He WILL BE).

In 1 Samuel 15:10 we read: “and came the Word of YHVH (He WILL BE) to Samuel saying.” Here, the Word is the one who speaks to Samuel. The Word was also identified as the speaker to Abraham in Genesis 15:4, and was called the speaker throughout the Book of Ezekiel.

  1. Theoderet of Cyrus, Question 15 in Exodus 7
  2. Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 63