Is His Name Jehovah or Yahweh?
The Christian translators of the Bible unknowingly followed the Jewish Scribes and disguised the Name of the Creator.
Now learn the truth about the Heavenly Father's revealed, personal Name!
Ask most Bible believers what the name of the Heavenly Father is and they probably will say Jehovah. Ask them for some proof of this and they will either point to traditional usage or refer you to some Old Testament English Bible version.
Surprisingly, the name of the Heavenly Father is not Jehovah, and never was. The history of "Jehovah," which some encyclopedias call erroneous and which many Bible scholars agree is not accurate, is quite eye-opening.
In the oldest text of the Bible, the ancient Hebrew script, the sacred Name is represented by four Hebrew letters, hwhy. These four letters are called the Tetragrammaton, appearing in English as YHWH.
The ancient Hebrew alphabet had no vowels. To indicate vowels, scribes or copyists used diacritical marks or points above or below the letters. Jewish law experts decided to hide this Name to make certain it would not be taken in vain or blasphemed. Therefore, when the four letters of the Tetragrammaton appeared in the text, scribes "pointed" it with substitution vowels for the Hebrew word adonai (meaning "lord") which was then read "adonai" instead of the sacred Name "Yahweh."
One of the most widely known words in the world is "halleluYah," an imperative meaning "Praise you Yah." Notice that the short or poetic form is Yah and is not spelled Yeh. Although the obsolete form "hallelujah" is occasionally seen, the letter j carries the sound of y (the Hebrew had no "j" or "j" sound). HalleluYah is heard the world over and sounds the same in all languages.
Hebrew Not Understood
The first converts to the Savior were Jews, including the bishops or leaders of the assemblies. As more gentile converts were accepted, the assembly took on a gentile flavor with gentile customs and practices.
These gentiles generally did not understand Hebrew. In fact, at the time of Constantine there was a most decided anti-Jewish bias and for the most part these gentile converts wanted nothing to do with anything Jewish. A separation soon developed between "Jewish Christians" and "Gentile Christians."
When the Old Testament was translated into Greek (known as the Septuagint)it became the standard text for the early assembly, now overwhelmed by pagan converts, which by then spoke Latin or Greek.
Even though the Septuagint was written in Greek, the Sacred Name (Tetragrammaton) hwhy was first written into the text in gold Hebrew letters. Being ignorant of Hebrew, the readers of the Greek text mistakenly pronounced the Hebrew Tetragrammaton "Pipi," as the Greek pi, “ π ” resembled the Hebrew he, “ ה ”.
The Latin translations became standard for the Roman church and the Latin letters IHVH appeared for the Hebrew Tetragrammaton. At that time the vowel I was equivalent to the Y. The V had the sound of W, "oo."(Read our ministudy, Spelling the Sacred Name, V or W?)
The capital I soon had a tail added, a modification popularized by Dutch printers, so that the Tetragrammaton began to appear as JHVH. Although it looked like our J, the Latin letter J was pronounced as the letter i in police or machine.
The Ineffable Name
Names do not change from language to language. One can listen to a foreign broadcast and recognize names of world leaders such as Bush, Yeltsin, Kohl, and Mitterand. Names are transliterated ("given the same sound")by employing equivalent letters of a given alphabet. Yahweh's Name does not change from language to language.
Even though the Tetragrammaton appeared in the Latin texts as JHVH (the equivalent of YHWH in pronunciation) the Hebrew vowel pointing was for adonai. In addition, the Jews made the first vowel "a" correspond to our short letter "e" as in "met," lest anyone reading the Hebrew would inadvertently blurt out the first part of the Sacred Name "Yah." (Hence the "e" in Jehovah.)
The Tetragrammaton, with the vowel pointing of the erroneous adonai, is even today called the "ineffable (unpronounceable) name" by those familiar with the Hebrew. It cannot be pronounced with the "adonai" vowel pointing!
The translators, unaware of the Jewish tradition not to pronounce the Name as Yahweh, were influenced by the Jews and their substitution of the vowels of adonai. Therefore they ignorantly wrote "Jehovah."
Dr. J. B. Rotherham states in the preface of his Bible concerning Jehovah: "Erroneously written and pronounced Jehovah, which is merely a combination of the sacred Tetragrammaton and the vowels in the Hebrew word for Lord, substituted by the Jews for JHVH, because they shrank from pronouncing The Name, owing to an old misconception of the two passages, Ex. 20:7 and Lev. 24:16...To give the name JHVH the vowels of the word for Lord [Heb. Adonai], is about as hybrid a combination as it would be to spell the name Germany with the vowels in the name Portugal - viz., Gormuna. The monstrous combination Jehovah is not older than about 1520 A.D."
Rotherham was ahead of his time, but now many current dictionaries and encyclopedias admit the name Jehovah is wrong, that it properly should read "Yahweh."
The Encyclopedia Britannica (Micropedia, vol. 10) says:
"Yahweh-the personal name of the [El] of the Israelites ...The Masoretes, Jewish biblical scholars of the Middle Ages, replaced the vowel signs that had appeared above or beneath the consonants of YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or of Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being. 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, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicate that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh."
Interestingly, even the Jehovah's Witnesses acknowledge that the name Jehovah is improper. Their book, "Let Your Name Be Sanctified" freely admits on pages 16 and 18 that Yahweh is the superior translation of the Tetragrammaton. This book has lately been withdrawn. However, in the preface of their "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures," we find on page 23 the following admission:
"While inclining to view the pronunciation 'Yahweh' as the more correct way, we have retained the form 'Jehovah' because of people's familiarity with it since the 14th century. Moreover, it preserves equally with other forms, the four letters of the Tetragrammaton JHVH."
Keeping Man's Tradition
We cannot let tradition lead us to call the Heavenly Father by a wrong name! Much scholarly proof is now available to show that Jehovah is wrong. We are to walk in all the truth we are given so that Yahweh will give us even more light. Our purpose is not to follow erroneous traditions of men: "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men." (Mark 7:7)
The mistaken name Jehovah is said to have been given us about 1518 by Peter Gallatin who was confessor to Pope Leo X. The efforts not withstanding Protestant reformers to return to the truth of the Bible, the majority of Protestants still retain the erroneous name Jehovah which was handed to us by the Catholics.
James Moffatt's Bible uses the title "Eternal," a title used by some groups who deny Yahweh's Name. Moffatt says in his preface:
"Strictly speaking, this ought to be rendered 'Yahweh,' which is familiar to modern readers in the erroneous form of 'Jehovah.' Were this a version intended for students of the original, there would be no hesitation whatever in printing 'Yahweh.'"
Moffatt admits that students of the original text (correct text) should use "Yahweh." Those who are not ardent students or lack interest in the original text given us by Yahweh Himself call Him by titles like "Eternal."
False Pen of the Scribes
As we have shown, the Scribes had inserted the vowels for Adonai in the Tetragrammaton to disguise Yahweh's Name. In their ignorance the Greek and Latin translators perpetuated the error.
Many names in the Bible begin with "Je" which should begin with "Ya." Even the name "Jesus" is not correct, but a poor transliteration. This can be proved by looking in a Bible concordance. (Read our ministudy, How the Savior's Name Was Changed, to learn how the dynamics of language led to an eventual change in the Messiah's Name.)
Note that names like Jehoiachin, Jehoiarib, Jehonadab, Jehoada, Jehosedech, and Jehoram all mistakenly begin with Jeh. Instead, they should more correctly begin Yah, as can be easily proved by searching Strong's Exhaustive Concordance for the reference number, and then perusing the Hebrew Dictionary found at the back of the concordance.
This changing of forms likely is what Jeremiah referred to when he wrote that the "pen of the scribes is in vain," Jeremiah 8:8.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is almost a necessity for gaining a deeper insight into the original languages. Notice in the Hebrew dictionary of Strong's No. 3050, the entry "Yahh," a contraction for 3068 [the Tetragrammaton, the Sacred Name].
"Yah" is found in HalleluYah, meaning "praise you Yah." Also it appears in names like Isaiah (IsaYah), Jeremiah (JeremYah), Zephaniah (ZephanYAH), Nehemiah (NehemYAH), and other names ending in "iah." Yah means "I exist," "I am," "I create," or "I will be or bring into being."
Yah is the poetic or short form of His Name found to have survived translators in Psalm 68:4 of the King James Version. It is the prefix of the name Jehovah as found in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance which is most interesting and shows the fallacy of the name Jehovah.
Shocking Implications of 'Jehovah'
We now see how the first part of the Sacred Name "Yah" was changed to "Jeh" as the "J" developed and the "a" was replaced with "e" to hide the name.
The suffix "hovah" is No. 1943 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary and has the meaning of "ruin: mischief." It is another form of No. 1942, havvah, which is translated "calamity, iniquity, mischief, mischievous (thing), naughtiness, naughty, noisome, perverse thing, substance, very wickedness."
Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius says of No. 1943, hovah: "ruin, disaster."
From this we can see the folly of calling the Creator of this universe-the One we worship- Jehovah. For in calling upon this hybrid name we are in actuality beseeching a mighty one whose name carries the meaning, "The One Who creates ruin, creates mischief, creates calamity, creates iniquity, creates naughtiness, creates perverse things, creates very wickedness."
Satan must certainly have a field day when mankind ignorantly refers to Yahweh by the name Je-hovah-a name that perfectly fits Satan himself as the Destroyer!
Yahweh: 'He Will Become...'
Knowing its Hebrew meaning, how can we possibly call our Heavenly Father "Jehovah"? No wonder Dr. Rotherham referred to the name Jehovah as a monstrous hybrid!
How much more glorious it is to call Him Yahweh! His Name Yahweh means He Who will become whatever we, His people, need of Him at that time. He will become our Healer, Provider, Protector, Sustainer, Guide, Shepherd, Keeper, etc., as well as our Savior through His Son Yahshua.
Now that you know that Jehovah is a man-made hybrid, cleanse your lips of it, as was the case with Isaiah (6:6-7). Call upon the Name Yahweh, which is revealed to those with whom He is in a covenant relationship. He will be whatever you need of Him and will joyfully fulfill the meaning of His Name in your life!
'Yahweh' in the Ten Commandments
Most Christians are not taught the importance of observing ALL the Commandments. Most skip over the first five and concentrate on those Commandments dealing with our fellow man: killing, lying, stealing, adultery, coveting. These certainly are important in guiding our daily life. Yet, is it not even MORE important that we serve faithfully our Heavenly Father Yahweh in the way He expects? We are told repeatedly throughout Scripture to revere His Name. How can we revere His Name if we never invoke the Name that He has so lovingly revealed to His people? Can we set His Name aside and ignore it?
Note that the first three of the Ten Commandments deal with Yahweh and His powerful Name. In the original Hebrew, the first five Commandments use His Name Yahweh eight times! Our Heavenly Father inspired Moses to place the Name Yahweh in His law for us so we would know Who we serve.
The Third Commandment specifically says that we should not take His Name lightly or use it in vain.
Reverently consider His Name as did those we read of in Malachi 3:16: "They that feared Yahweh spoke often one to another: and Yahweh hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared Yahweh, and that thought upon His name." May you reverence His Name so that your name will also be written in the "Book of Remembrance." Verses 17 and 18 show that this as an act of righteousness.
Revelation 3:5 reveals that Yahshua will not blot out the names of those who overcome, but will confess their names before the Heavenly Father.(See also Rev. 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 15, 21:27, 22:19.)
If the names of mere men are important for the book of salvation, how much more important is the Name of the Heavenly Father Yahweh to us?
Take on His Name
Yahweh speaks of His people in this way: "Therefore my people shall know my Name..." (Isa. 52:6)
The prophet Daniel in a petition to Almighty Yahweh asks, "O Yahweh, hear; O Yahweh, forgive; O Yahweh, hearken and do; defer not, for Your own sake, O my Elohim: for Your city and Your People are called by Your Name" (9:19).
When we realize that Yahweh is creating a family of obedient people on earth who reverence Him and His Name, then we understand the importance of that family name and what it means to be called by it.
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Master Yahshua the Messiah, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," Ephesians 3:14-15.
The day our Savior returns to earth as the Redeemer and Bridegroom He will marry His bride, the True Assembly. As His bride, His people will take on His Name, "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," Acts 4:12.
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