וַיֹּאמֶר֩ עֹ֨וד אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶל־ מֹשֶׁ֗ה כֹּֽה־ תֹאמַר֮ אֶל־ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ יְהוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י
And God said moreover unto Moses Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel The LORD* God of your fathers the God of Abraham the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob hath sent me unto you this is my name for ever and this is my memorial unto all generations. ESV
The term "Father" is a title or metaphor for God. It is true that God is our Father and the title certainly applies, but we should keep in mind that it is used to point us to God in his relational mode of existence with Creation. The title Father is used variously throughout the Old Testament. Trinitarian theologians put so much emphasis on the title "Father" that it is used to refer to a distinct person in the Godhead as well as a worthy title to be called over one in baptism. Is this the name for God though? Father? Here is how the Bible defines its use of "Father":
1. The immediate male parent or grandfather or even more distant relative (Gen 17:4; 28:13; 42:13).
2. The pioneer of some craft or occupation (Gen 4:21)
3. The mayor or provost of a town (1 Chron. 2:51)
4. A courtesy title for one who had acted like a benevolent father (Gen 45:8)
5. An aged and revered teacher (1 Sam 10:12)
6. As a prophetic title of Christ, the coming Messiah, as “The everlasting Father” (Isa 9:6).
The Gospel of John takes the use to an all time high in the New Testament with a total around 116 with Christ using them about 108 of those times. John is very theological in his presentation and so this is to be expected as we see the reality of the Incarnation or the relationship between the Father and the Son. Thomas F. Torrance points out that "We can approach Jesus only as sinners who need the mediation of Christ in order to go to the Father..."* This relationship helps us conceptualize how God could become a man and indeed redeem us.
Besides the Gospels the New Testament authors only use "Father" 78 times, but use "God" more than 1000 times. This is their preferred term for God, whereas Jesus’ preferred term was "Father" but not by much. 174 times He called God "Father" and 161 times He called Him "God". To the Jew Yahweh is God, the only Lord God.
In Exodus 3:15, above, LORD here is capitalized because it is יְהֹוָה or Yhvh. J.R. Ensey made these comments at the Apostolic Theological Forum worth noting:
"If God's name has always been Yeshua, it would seem strange that He never referred to Himself as such, nor was He ever called that until the New Testament. It might be counter-argued that while God was called YHWH in the OT, He is never called by such in the NT. But is God called YHWH in the NT? Yes, in its expanded form as Jesus, meaning YHWH is salvation. The name Jesus found exclusively in the NT, is a continuation of the revealed name of God found throughout the OT. "Jesus" is not a new name." *
The name of God in the Old Testament is YHWH and Jesus is the continuing revelation of the name of YHWH. Indeed, Yehshua means: YHWH is salvation. To invoke the name of Jesus is to in some way invoke the name of YHWH. This distinguishes the name of Jesus as a covenantal name and is not equivalent to the proper name "Jesus" given in other languages. There are several titles for God but God's name is YHWH (Ex. 3:14-15). Yeshua or Jesus has been revealed, as the "exalted" name "above all names" (Phil. 2:9-11).
In I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal Theology Dr. David Norris says, "Analogously, the name of Jesus functions covenentally much the same as Yahweh." The name Yeshua contains part of the divine name in its grammatical construction and was also accompanied by the announcement of angels. In fact, there is "no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" outside the name of Jesus (See Acts 4:12).
To those who heard the name know that Yeshua was the salvation of Yahweh. This was important for Christ's divine identify as Yahweh but also His mission since it "declared what Yahweh would do in the person of Jesus Christ."* (Norris, pg. 76) The name of Jesus is the name above all names. We must be sure that we do divorce from its very meaning or forget, rather, that it is a continuing revelation of YHWH Himself.
* Norris, David S. I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal Theology (c) 2009 by David S. Norris. Word Aflame Publishers Academic, pg.78
* Torrance, Thomas F. Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ (c) 2008 by Thomas F. Torrance and Robert T. Walker. Intervarsity Press Academic publishing.
* "What is God's Real Name?" by J.R. Ensey delivered at the 2009 Apostolic Theological Forum
* Norris, pg. 76