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Proclaim the Name!
Part 1: The Name of The Almighty
(Note: Except where otherwise stated, the New King James Version is used throughout this article. Substitution of the holy names in all Scripture quotations has been made at the discretion of the author)
Names, God and Lord
If we ask someone his/her name, we expect to be told a proper noun, by which that person is identified, such as John or Mary. John is a name and so is Mary. However, if that person replied by saying “doctor” or “nurse,” even though those titles help us to know something about the person, they do not identify a particular person. Even if it were generally accepted that the senior doctor is identified by a capital “D,” and the head nurse by a capital “N,” one would naturally ask, what is the personal name of the Senior Doctor or Head Nurse, for however much we dress up the titles by the use of capital letters, they still remain exactly that – titles.
From the earliest record in the Bible, we find proper names were given to the first human beings, Adam and Eve, as a means of identification. This was continued throughout the Bible and indeed for all generations worldwide. Nowhere do we find anyone, not even the adversary, being called exclusively by a title. Somehow the majority of the world and indeed Christendom think it right to make the Almighty an exception and call Him, not by a name but by the titles “God” and “Lord,” which, in their lower cases are used for persons or objects of worship or veneration. A capital “G” to identify the Supreme God or a capital “L” for the Almighty Lord is not better than the example of the doctor and nurse already mentioned above. The use of a capital letter does not cause a title to become a personal name.
There are many “gods” and “lords.” In most religions a superhuman, image, or idol worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes, is called a god, but in the non-Christian religions, those gods also have a name. Venus, Apollo, Zeus, Dionysus, Hermes, Aphrodite and Hyperion are a small sample from the huge list of Greek “gods” who were not just called “god,” but had a specific name by which they were identified.
A ‘lord’ is simply a master or ruler. Historically, such a person was a feudal superior, especially of the manor. In England, a lord is a peer, that is a member of one of the degrees of the nobility, i.e. a duke, marquis, earl, viscount or baron. There are over 670 peers qualified to sit in the House of Lords but these all have personal names. Baroness Thatcher’s name is Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Lord Lloyd Webber is Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Earl of Glasgow is Patrick Robin Archibald Boyle and Viscount Bledisloe is Christopher Hiley Ludlow Bathurst.
E. A. Wallis Budge, in his book Egyptian Magic (Dover Publications Inc.), states the following about the power of the names to the Egyptian. "The Egyptians, like most Oriental nations, attached very great importance to the knowledge of names, and the knowledge of how to use and to make mention of names which possessed magical powers was a necessity both for the living and the dead. It was believed that if a man knew the name of a god or a devil, and addressed him by it, he was bound to answer him and to do whatever he wished; and the possession of the knowledge of the name of a man enabled his neighbour to do him good or evil." (p. 157)
In his writing, “An Overview of the Ancient Egyptian Religion,” John Watson states under his chapter entitled the “Gods and Mythology of Ancient Egypt,” that the Egyptians had many gods. His list of one hundred and twenty-five Egyptian gods include Ra, the sun god, who was known as King of the gods; Isis, known as the great mother goddess, and wife of Osiris who was god of the dead. There were gods for the Nile, the sky, earth, sun, music, destruction, magic, desert, fertility, wisdom, embalming, justice, creation, cats, cows and many more, each of whom had a proper name.
Proverbs 30:4, in referring to the Creator of the universe, asked the direct question: “What is His name?” This question, as well as many other references in the Bible makes it quite clear that He is not unique in being nameless. Our Saviour taught us to pray: “hallowed be Thy name” (KJV). Could the titles God and Lord be hallowed (set apart, holy and sacred) when they are in common use for lesser creatures and things? Does man have the authority to make anything holy? The Almighty One has a personal name, not just a title. God is not a name. Neither is Lord or Lord God. So what is His personal name?
What is the Correct Name of the Creator?
Generations of Israelites having been born in Egypt had merged with the Egyptian customs. There were many who knew only a life of slavery. Their forefathers’ knowledge of the Almighty
One had lost its significance. It is because of this that they later had to learn about the Sabbath through the provision of manna in the wilderness. They would have known the names of Egyptians gods, and would have expected their Elohim (God) also to have a name by which He could be called. It is not surprising therefore that when, in Exodus 3:10, Moses was commissioned to be the leader of the children of Israel, he felt acutely the need to know the personal name of the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Although Moses would not have desired to invoke the sacred name in the way the Egyptians would have done to their gods, nevertheless, he knew that his credibility would have been at stake if he did not know the name of his Mighty One.
The children of Israel would not have settled for a generic title for their Elohim when the Egyptian gods had names. The name was going to be very important. So in Exodus 3:13 Moses asked Elohim: "When I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?"
Moses, by his question, was implying that the Hebrew word Elohim (god) was not the name, otherwise it would have been superfluous for him to state the name “God” and still ask the questions “What is his name? What shall I say unto them?”. Moses was asking for the personal name by which the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could be identified.
The answer that Moses was given has been translated: “I AM THAT I AM.” So, in verses 14 and 15 of Exodus 3, we get the following answer as rendered in most translations of the Bible:
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’.” Moreover God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations’.”
Unlike common nouns, names are not translated. In cases where the alphabets of two languages are the same, the spelling of a name in both languages would be identical. Where, however, the alphabets are different, the names would be transliterated, that is each letter of one language is replaced with a similar sounding letter of another language. Although the phrase “I AM THAT I AM” conveys part of the correct meaning of the name of the Almighty, it is not a name, and it is certainly not Hebrew! The next section explains why the precise answer that Moses was given does not appear in most translations of the Bible.
Even if we were to accept (quite wrongly) that I AM THAT I AM is the original “Hebrew” name that was to be a memorial unto all generations, then why is it that “I AM THAT I AM” is not used throughout the Bible as the name? Instead, the translators in other parts of the Bible replaced the Hebrew name, part of which means I AM, with the titles “God” and “Lord”, which have no such meaning.
What then is the Hebrew name Moses was given that has been translated “I AM THAT I AM” and then abandoned in most of the Bible?
The New Encyclopaedia Britannica states: “‘Yahweh’ is the name of the ‘God of the Israelites, His name being revealed to Moses as four Hebrew consonants (YHWH) called the tetragrammaton.’
“The meaning of the personal name of the Israelite God has been variously interpreted. Many scholars believe that the most proper meaning may be ‘He brings Into Existence Whatever Exists’ (Yahweh asher Yahweh).
“Although Christian scholars after the Renaissance and Reformation periods used the term Jehovah for YHWH, in the 19th and 20th centuries biblical scholars again began to use the form Yahweh.”
Virtues Catholic Encyclopaedia, under the name Yahweh, says: “‘The name he (Moses) is told is Yahweh, and …this is an abbreviation for Yahweh asher Yahweh’ or ‘he is who he is’.”
It is generally agreed among most scholars and it is well documented in many publications that the Hebrew version of “I AM THAT I AM” is Yahweh asher Yahweh, who is not only the Elohim of the present, but also of the future and of the past. Yahweh asher Yahweh has been interpreted “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.” Many further evidences in this publication will be given that the name of our Heavenly Father is Yahweh.
This name is not the invention of recent scholars. The Biblical Archaeological Review, among many other publications, highlights a very important historical finding of a stone known as the Mesha Inscription or Moabite Stone, which was erected by the Moabite King Mesha in 900 BC, following his victory over the Israelites. The stone gives invaluable confirmation of Old Testament history. Lines 17 and 18 of this stone read: “I took thence the altar-hearths of Yahweh, and I dragged them before Kamosh.” This is the earliest known mention of the name Yahweh outside of the Bible.
Another valuable archaeological discovery was the Lachish Letters in 1935. These letters were dispatches from a Jewish Commander Hosha´yahu who was writing to Ya'osh, military commander at Lachish, as the situation worsened. This was the time referred to in the Bible when “the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah; for only these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah.” (Jeremiah 34:7)
In the British Museum there is an excerpt from one of the letters written on pottery in 586 BC; it states “To my lord Ya'osh. May Yahweh cause my lord to hear the news of peace, even now.”
These two discoveries are further proof that the name Yahweh was used long before the invention, 500 years ago, of the hybrid name Jehovah. The reader is recommended to search encyclopaedias, lexicons, dictionaries and the web where a wealth of evidence supporting the authenticity of the name Yahweh will be found.
How the Original Name Was Changed
The true name of our heavenly Father was deliberately obliterated in order to avoid breaking the third commandment, which says,
"You shall not take the name ... in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
The New Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia, vol 12 states: “After the Exile (6th century BC), and especially from the 3rd century on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun elohim, meaning ‘god’, tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (‘My Lord’) which was translated Kyrios (‘Lord’) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.
“The Masoretes, who from about the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible, replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with vowel signs of the Hebrew words Adonai or Elohim.”
While the scribes thought they had thus succeeded by not taking the name in vain, they had unwittingly cleared the path for its substitution with false names and lesser titles, which were to be revered with time.
Professor George Howard, in the Biblical Archaeology Review, March 1978, wrote, “Towards the end of the first Christian century, when the church had become predominantly Gentile, the motive for retaining the Hebrew name…was lost and the words kyrios [Lord] and theos [God] were substituted for it in Christian copies of the Old Testament Septuagint…. Before long the divine name was lost to the Gentile church except insofar as it was reflected in the contracted surrogates (e.g. Jehovah) or remembered by scholars.” (The writer has added bracketed words).
The 1872 edition of William Smith’s Bible Dictionary entitled a Smaller Dictionary of the Bible says: “The substitution of ‘the Lord’ is most unhappy; for while it in no way represents the meaning of the sacred name, the mind has constantly to guard against a confusion with its lower uses, and above all, the direct bearing of the name on the revelation of God …is kept injuriously out of sight.”
In Malachi 1:11 our Maker says: “My name shall be great among the heathen.”
In Isaiah 12:4 we read “make mention that His name is exalted.”
Instead of His name being exalted and made great among the heathens, it has been hidden, suppressed, and debased.
Name Known By Those Who Do Not Use It
Many religious heads are fully aware of the name Yahweh even though the customs of their organizations do not allow for its general usage. Writers who do not use the name “Yahweh” in their works have in many cases admitted that the correct personal name of the Almighty is Yahweh.
Moffatt apologized for substituting the “Eternal” for Yahweh’s name in his translation. He wrote:
“Strictly speaking, this ought to be rendered ‘Yahweh,’ which is familiar to modern readers in the erroneous form of ‘Jehovah.’ Were this version intended for students of the original, there would be no hesitation whatever in printing ‘Yahweh.’ But almost at the last moment I have decided to follow the practice of the French scholars … who translate this name by ‘the Eternal’…There is a distinct loss in this I fully admit.”
Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary reads: "And the name above all others that was looked upon as the name, the personal name of God, was YAHWEH."
The Jehovah’s Witnesses, on page 25 of their booklet The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, quote from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Volume 1, page 572), which clearly states: “Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only name of God”..On page 9 of this same booklet, however, they explained their preference for “Jehovah” by saying that it had “a currency and familiarity which ‘Yahweh’ does not have.” No doubt this is the same reason why others have persisted in using “God” and “Lord”! Convenience or popularity is never more important than truth!
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
What is the Correct Pronunciation?
The correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton YHWH is generally accepted to be Yahweh.
The New Catholic Encyclopaedia vol. 14, commenting on the name Yahweh, says: “Judging from Greek transcriptions of the sacred name, YHWH ought to be pronounced Yahweh.” It also states, as do many other commentaries, that “the pronunciation Jehovah was unknown in ancient Jewish circles, and is based upon a later misunderstanding of the scribal practice of using the vowels of Adonai with the consonants of YHWH.”
The New Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia states that “Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used a form like Yahweh, and this pronunciation of the tetragrammaton was never really lost. Other Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh.”
The Tetragrammaton could not have been originally pronounced Jehovah since among many other reasons the letter J with its present sound is only approximately 500 years old, and there is no letter “J” or “J” sound in either the Hebrew or Greek alphabet. (For more information on the letter “J” see under “The error of the letter J” in Part 2)
Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary states: “The pronunciation Yahweh is indicated by transliterations of the name into Greek in early Christian literature, in the form ‘iaoue’ ……Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only ‘name’ of God.”
The Seventh-Day Adventist and Hebrew scholar, Raymond F Cottrell, in the Review and Herald, Feb 9, 1967 wrote: “The English spelling of Yahweh is now almost universally believed to reflect accurately the ancient, original pronunciation of YHWH. In keeping with the common practice today of pronouncing proper names…from a foreign language with as nearly the original vocalization as possible, it would be altogether correct and proper for us to use the name Yahweh wherever the word YHWH (‘LORD’) occurs in the Old Testament, and also whenever we are speaking of the true God in the Old Testament times. This practice is becoming more and more common among Bible scholars and informed Christians.”
May Yahweh help us to stay informed and to be bold enough to apply the information we learn.
Answers to Objections For Using “Yahweh”
Question 1: Why should we use a name that is not in the Bible?
a) The abbreviated or poetic form of Yahweh is found in Psalm 68:4. The New King James Version renders this verse: “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name YAH, And rejoice before Him.” The Nelson Study Bible, commenting on this verse, says “Yah is the abbreviated form of the divine name Yahweh.”
This name is incorrectly rendered as “Jah” in the King James and is correctly shown as “Yah” in the New King James. (See how the “J” used to be pronounced like the “Y” under “The error of the letter J” in Part 2)
The Strong’s number for the name Yah used in this verse is 3050. This number appears several times in The Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Each time this number is given in the Lexicon, it identifies the places where the Hebrew word in the original Hebrew was Yah. The list is enormous. There are too many instances of this usage to list them all. The reader can find these mainly on pages 219 and 238 of the Lexicon. Samples of the verses cited in the Lexicon are:
Yah is my strength and song (Exodus 15:2)
Praise Yah (Psalm 104:35; 105:45, 106:1, 106:1, 150:6)
If the correct name as used in the original Hebrew had been preserved and not replaced by pseudonyms, the frequency of its usage would have dispelled any doubt about its occurrence in the Bible.
Virtues Catholic Encyclopaedia, volume 3 says: “The name Yahweh does not appear in most Bibles…the name appears however in the Hebrew Old Testament, about six thousand times.”
b) The word “halleluyah” means praise you Yahweh, and is well known in every language. It is often rendered incorrectly as hallelujah, where “jah” is used for Yah as already stated above, under a).
c) The names of Biblical writers such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zephaniah with endings - iah (Yah) include part of the name Yahweh.
d) Yahweh and not Jehovah should have been used in the following four verses of the King James Version, since Jehovah is the incorrect rendition of YHWH:
Ex 6:3, And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
Ps 83:18, That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
Isa 12:2, Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Isa 26:4, Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
e) The Scriptures make it clear that we must not add or take away anything from His word.
Proverbs 30:6 says: “Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”
In Revelation 22:19 we read: “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Yahweh shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
We are forbidden to add to, or take away from, the word of Yahweh. The name of Yahweh has been erroneously taken out of the Bible, and has been replaced by ordinary titles given to men or local deities. The result is that many of Yahweh’s legitimate children have been denied the knowledge of their Heavenly Father’s name. The titles they use are not names and do not have the force of meaning of the name Yahweh. For far too long these substitutes, which have been venerated with time and usage, have caused the true name of our Father to have no significance. It is time to remove that which has been wrongly added and replace that which was wrongly removed from the Bible.
Furthermore, replacing the name would add clarity to passages where the title “Lord” is used in reference to either our heavenly Father or His Son. For example: “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’.” (Mark 12:36)
Question 2: We speak English, why should we use a Hebrew name?
Unlike common nouns, names are not translated. They are usually transliterated, that is, each letter of one language is replaced with a similar sounding letter of another language. The result being that the name sounds the same as in the original language. This is very much the case in bringing Hebrew into Greek or Latin where each language has its own alphabet. Whatever the differences of language may be, a name is normally preserved in writing or audibly in other languages by its closest resemblance to the original native language.
We do not hesitate in saying such names as Leonardo Da Vinci or Ludwig Van Beethoven or Niccolo Machiavelli, or Mohammed on the grounds that they are foreign names, and we certainly do not translate them into English words that bear no relationship with these names. We are quite accustomed to commentators at international games calling the many foreign athletes by their correct names. Commentators are not expected to translate each name into a word that is totally different from the original name.
A personal name has always been a very important means of identification. Yahweh has said that His name is for all generations and that the Gentiles should know His name:
For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles. (Malachi 1:11)
The Gentiles who were foreigners of Israel, and did not speak the Hebrew language, were to know His name – not the Gentiles’ perception, translation, or fabrication of His name. Language is to be no barrier to the knowledge and usage of the name of the Almighty. In fact, when compared to many foreign names, the name “Yahweh” is very simple to express in writing or orally.
There are many Hebrew names in the Bible which we already use, such as Ezekiel, Nehemiah, Isaiah and Asher (these are not Hebrew pronunciations). Therefore the excuse of not using the name “Yahweh” because it is Hebrew cannot be a valid one.
Question 3: Does it matter what name we call Him?
Exodus 3:15 says: “This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” A memorial is a monument – something special, to remind us of a person(s) or event(s). Since Yahweh says that His name is a memorial unto ALL generations, then His name must be of great importance to Him. Indeed the Scriptures are replete with verses that declare the importance and greatness of His name. Following are a few from which cross-references could be found for many others:
I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen. (Ezekiel 36:23)
Here Yahweh says He will set apart or make sacred, His name, which had been desecrated, made common or brought to nothing.
How excellent is Your name in all the earth….! (Psalm 8:1)
Your name, O Yahweh, endures forever, Your fame, O Yahweh, throughout all generations. (Psalm 135:13)
I am Yahweh, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 42:8)
When Yahweh speaks, whatever we may think, or whatever we may have been led to believe, or however popular may be the view that we hold, is of secondary importance. His words are pre eminent over those of all others.
Scriptures tell us that Yahweh’s name and that of His Son will have special significance at the end of the Age.
In Revelation 2:13 the Pergamos Assembly is commended because they “hold fast My Name.”
In Revelation 3:8 the Philadelphian Assembly is to be rewarded because among other acts, they “have not denied My Name.”
In Revelation 22:4 we read:
They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
No wonder Yahweh says that His name is forever!
Some may argue that the Bible-usage of the word “name” with reference to Yahweh means His person or characteristics. Without doubt the word also has that meaning. Because a name identifies a particular person, it also brings to mind the characteristics of that individual. However, the word does not have only that meaning, it also means the proper noun by which a person is identified. The Smith’s Revised Bible Dictionary commenting on “names” says: “Names are archaeological monuments… they connate and perpetuate the conceptions, feelings, and modes of thought of their originators … it must not be forgotten that the names of the Bible have in innumerable instances a real and profound significance. This is apparent from the fact, that on mentioning a name the sacred writers in almost countless cases pause to call our attention either to its etymological signification or to the reasons which led to its bestowment.”
Since the Bible attaches much importance to names, and to the name of our Heavenly Father in particular, is it pleasing to Him that men should give Him a name of their choosing, rather than use the name by which He was originally known to His people Israel?
Conclusion of Part 1
Even without knowledge of the Hebrew language, those who are willing to search will find overwhelming evidence in dictionaries, commentaries, encyclopaedias, lexicons and on the web that the name Yahweh is generally recognized to be the name of the Supreme Being and Creator of the entire universe. Ever existent and ever present, this is the Elohim not only of the Israelites but also of all mankind. He will be whatever He needs to be for you. He will be your healer, provider, defender, protector, salvation, righteousness, peace, confidence, companion, wisdom and guide, wherever and whenever you need Him. For every age and at every stage He was, is, and will be the same. He will be at your beginnings and at your endings. Time does not age Him, and circumstances cannot change Him. He remains the same. All of these meanings are encapsulated in that one name that is shared with no other – Yahweh. The Sovereign of the entire universe gave Himself a name that no power on earth has authority to change.
The omission of His name from the Bible was not what Yahweh had commanded. In many scriptures the Bible says the name is to be “extolled, “praised, “proclaimed, or “declared.” None of these words suggest that it should be hidden or replaced. Yet men have chosen to hide it under titles, which they revere, instead of reverently using the holy name that is “hallowed.”
Many people are emotionally attached to the titles God and Lord since they are used as expressions of endearment and adoration. Nothing we can feel about these titles makes them more acceptable to the Almighty One who says “I am Yahweh, that is my name,” and that “this is my name forever.”
The sacredness, purity and meaning of the name forbid the use of substitutes. As in the Garden of Eden, man is prone to do that which is forbidden rather than that which is commanded. There is a general tendency to do what is convenient, in disregard or contempt of what Yahweh says.
One would wonder what sort of a legitimate child it is who does not know or does not want to use the personal name of his father. Our heavenly Father is displeased with our behaviour. In Malachi 1:6 He says “A son honours his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honour? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says Yahweh of hosts To you priests who despise My name...”
Subordinates do not select the names of their superiors. Children do not choose the names by which their parents will be called. Our Creator has told us what is His name. What right have we, His children, to change His name? It is time for those of us who genuinely desire to honour our Father, to demonstrate this by calling Him by the name that He says is holy.
As Rotherham said: “The suppression of the Name has entailed upon the reader and especially upon the hearer, irreparable loss …. Its suppression was a mistake. So grave a mistake cannot be corrected too soon. An unwarrantable liberty has been taken; the path of humility is to retrace our steps.”
Hallowed be thy name, Yahweh!
-Elder Buel Hallpike
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