The Mistaken J
Often heard in the churches of our land is the refrain sung about the Savior, “There’s something about that name...” In our English-speaking world we have been taught that the saving name of the Redeemer of Israel is “Jesus.” So accepted is this name that few stop to consider its authenticity.
But the truth is, there is indeed “something about that Name.” That “something” is the inescapable fact that the Savior’s name is not Jesus, and never was. What’s more, the Name of the Heavenly Father is not Jehovah, a designation that is only five centuries old.
Churchianity has so thoroughly immersed the world in the error of this tradition for the past 500 years that few even think to research the matter or to consider the consequences of calling on the wrong name. As a result, most continue believing that the Hebrew Savior is called by a Latinized Greek name that could not possibly have existed at the time He walked the earth. It’s a name that would have been completely foreign to Him.
Eminent French historian, scholar, and archaeologist Ernest Renan acknowledges that the Savior was never in His lifetime called “Jesus.” In his book, The Life of Jesus, Renan doubts that the Savior even spoke Greek (p.90). Greek was mostly the language of business and commerce in cosmopolitan circles.
As for the Father’s Name, the hybrid “Jehovah” came into existence through the ignorance of Christian writers who did not understand the Old Testament Hebrew. Credit for the error is given to Petrus Galatinus, confessor to Pope Leo X in the 16th century.
Modern scholarship recognizes “Yahshua” as the best rendition for the Name of the Savior, while “Yahweh” is the closest transliteration for the Name of the Creator as found in ancient Scriptural manuscripts. In returning as nearly as we can to the Bibles’ original language and meaning, we come to a deeper and more accurate understanding of the truths contained within it. As we will learn, the Father and Son’s revealed, personal Names are the foundation on which other vital, salvation truths rest. It was not without reason that Yahweh established the foundation of the Ten Commandments with the clear declaration of His sacred Name: “I, Yahweh, am your Elohim...” Exodus 20:2. Our Savior, as well, opened His Model Prayer with the words, “hallowed be Thy Name.”
Yahweh devoted the Third Commandment to warn of the sin of taking His Name in vain (a meaning that includes bringing His Name to uselessness, as has been done for centuries), Exodus 20:2, 7. Our Redeemer’s Name is critically important as well, or else our Creator would not have inspired the writer of Acts to proclaim, “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
Back to the Basic Truths of the Bible
It should be evident to anyone that through time and tradition, observances change, are added to, and also lose some of what they first had. This is especially true of the worship originally practiced in the Bible. Our primary goal as True Worshipers should be to return to fundamental truths, like His true Name, once known and taught by the early Assembly but that have been neglected or ignored through the centuries. Shouldn’t this be the desire of every sincere Bible believer—to worship in ALL truth? Why go only halfway, or put another way, why continue worshiping partly in error?
Jude 3 speaks directly to us: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” This original faith as practiced in the early New Testament Assembly is being restored now, just before the Savior Yahshua returns to earth. Acts 3:21 say the heaven must receive the Savior until the time of restitution of all things. “Restitution” is the Greek apokatastasis and means re-establish from a state of ruin (Read our explanatory ministudy, This Is the EliYah Message.)
Foundational to this original truth being restored by Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua is the identity of the One we worship. Nothing in existence is more holy than the Father and His personal, revealed Name Yahweh. Paul wrote that Yahweh has given His Son a Name that is above every name, Philippians 2:9. The prophet Malachi tells us that if we will not give glory unto Yahweh’s Name that He would send a curse upon us (2:2).
With a sense of gravity of the sacred Name, let’s examine why any substitute name employing the letter J is erroneous on its face. We will look at the facts and the overwhelming evidence and carefully evaluate our findings, using numerous sources revealing the truth. Much of the information we cite here is readily available in your public library, or found in references you may even have at home. We urge you to look into this important issue and prove it for yourself.The ‘J’: A Letter Come Lately
Among the many reasons that both “Jesus” and “Jehovah” are erroneous is the simple fact that they begin with the letter J, the most recent letter added to our English alphabet. The Savior’s name could not begin with the letter J because it did not exist when He was born –not even a thousand years later! All good dictionaries and encyclopedias show that the letter J and its sound are of late origin.
A chart on both the Hebrew and Greek alphabet is found on page 48 in this booklet. Take special note that there is no letter equivalent to J in either Hebrew or Greek even today. Here are what major references tell us about the J and its development:
> The Encyclopedia Americana contains the following on the J: “The form of J was unknown in any alphabet until the 14th century. Either symbol (J, I) used initially generally had the consonantal sound of Y as in year. Gradually, the two symbols (J, I) were differentiated, the J usually acquiring consonantal force and thus becoming regarded as a consonant, and the I becoming a vowel. It was not until 1630 that the differentiation became general in England.”
> The New Book of Knowledge reads:
“J, the tenth letter of the English alphabet, is the youngest of the 26 letters. It is a descendant of the letter I and was not generally considered a separate letter until the 17th century. The early history of the letter J is the same as the history of the letter I. I is a descendant of the ancient Phoenician and Hebrew letter yod and the Greek letter iota” (Vol. 10, 1992 ed.).
> The Random House Dictionary of the English Language says about the J: “The tenth letter of the English alphabet developed as a variant form of I in Medieval Latin, and except for the preference for the J as an initial letter, the two were used interchangeably, both serving to represent the vowel (i) and the consonant (y). Later, through specialization, it came to be distinguished as a separate sign, acquiring its present phonetic value under the influence of the French.”
>The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Edition, under “J,” offers additional information:
“J, a letter of the alphabet which, as far as form is concerned, is only a modification of the Latin I and dates back with a separate value only to the 15th century. It was first used as a special form of initial I, the ordinary form being kept for use in other positions. As, however, in many cases initial i had the consonantal value of the English y in iugum (yoke), &c., the symbol came to be used for the value of y, a value which it still retains in German: Ja! Jung, & c. Initially it is pronounced in English as an affricate dzh. The great majority of English words beginning with j are of foreign (mostly French) origin, as ‘jaundice,’ ‘judge’”...(p.103).
> Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia (1979 edition), volume 14, page 94 under “J,” states:
“J, the tenth letter and seventh consonant in the English alphabet. It is the latest addition to the English script and has been inserted in the alphabet after I, from which it was developed, just as V and W follow U, the letter from which they arose. In form, J was originally merely a variation of I; J appeared first in Roman times, when it was used sometimes to indicate the long i vowel sound, but was often used interchangeably with I. The Romans pronounced I as a vowel in some words, such as iter, and as a semi-vowel in others, for example, iuvenis, spelled presently juvenis. The only difference in spelling, however, was the occasional use of double i for the y sound for example, in maiior, spelled presently major. In the Middle Ages the elongated form (j) was used as an ornamental device, most often initially and in numeral series; many old French manuscripts indicate the numeral 4 by the letter sequence iiij. The use of j as an initial led ultimately to its specialized use to indicate both the old semi-vowel sound y, found in German, and the new palatal consonant sounds (z) and (dz), found in French, Spanish and English. Not until the middle of the 17th century did this usage become universal in English books; in the King James Bible of 1611, for example, the words Jesus and judge are invariably Iesus and iudge. Long after the invention of printing, j thus became more than a mere calligraphic variation of i (which in Latin could be either vowel or semi-vowel), and, j became restricted to a consonantal function.
“In English, j has the composite sound of d + zh, as in journal. In French, on the other hand, the zh sound alone is given the letter, as in jour; German has retained the original y sound of the Latin i consonant, as in jahr; and Spanish has introduced a new sound resembling a guttural ch, as in Jerez. In Middle English, before the differentiation of i and j, the combination gi was sometimes used to represent the dzh sounds, such as in Giew for Jew, and in modern times the soft g is used for the same sound, as in general...”
> Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary confirms how the J developed from the I and became a consonant only a few centuries ago:
“J, j (ja), n. 1. The tenth letter of the English alphabet: formerly a variant of I, i, in the seventeenth century it became established as a consonant only, as in Julius, originally spelled Iulius.”
The letter J was often used instead of the letter I, especially at the beginning of a word. This became common in the 1600s (World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, 1995 ed). Medieval scribes added a tail to the second I when two I’s appeared together. Because a beginning I almost always has a consonant sound, the long form, J, came to be used generally for the consonant sound of the letter (New Book of Knowledge).
It became necessary to distinguish between the J and the I when the dictionary came into being. In the seventeenth century, the dictionary’s appearance forced a consistent spelling. Using either I or J became mandatory to ensure proper alphabetical positioning. Owing to this close kinship with I, J was inserted immediately following I in our English alphabet.
Note the substantiating comments on the J from the Encyclopedia Americana:
“It is one of the few permanent additions to those alphabets, made in medieval or modern times. More exactly, it was not an addition, but a differentiation from an existing letter, I, which in Latin, besides being a vowel (as in index), had also the consonantal value of ‘Y’ (as in maior, pronounced ‘mayor’).
“At a later state, the symbol ‘J’ was used for the distinctive purposes, particularly when the ‘I’ had to be written initially (or in conjunction with another ‘I’). Either symbol used initially generally had the consonantal sound of ‘Y’ (as in Year) so that the Latin pronunciation of either Ianuarius or Januarius was as though the spelling was ‘Yanuarius.’ While in some words of Hebrew and other origin (such as Hallelujah or Junker), ‘J’ has the phonetic value of ‘Y.’”
We discover, then, that the letter J derived from the vowel letter I and originally had the same sound as the vowel I. That is why the lower case j still has a dot over it. The letter I represents the Greek iota (I), which usually corresponds to the Hebrew yothe (Y as in yes). The letter J has a Y sound (as in “hallelujah”) in Latin, German, and Scandinavian languages. In Spanish, J is an aspirate, having the sound of H.
The J was first pronounced as the I at the time of the introduction of the printing press. Dutch printers fostered utilizing the J, especially at the beginning of a word. The letter J eventually acquired its own sound. It was the French who gave the letter J the present sound of the soft letter g as in “large” or “purge.” In Latin, German, and other languages the J is pronounced more like Y with an “ee” sound. The Spanish J is more like an aspirant as in San Jose. Some old European maps still show the spelling of countries like Jugoslavia (Yugoslavia) or Sowjet (Soviet) Russia. It is only in the last century that the letter J has firmly taken on the French pronunciation as in joy or journal.
> Webster’s Universal Dictionary (1936) reinforces the fact of the early relationship of the letter J to I:
“As a character it was formerly used interchangeably with ‘I,’ both letters having originally the same sound and after the ‘J’ sound came to be common in English, it was often written where this sound must have been pronounced. The separation of these two letters is of comparatively recent date, being brought about through the influence of the Dutch printers.”
First Letter of the Sacred Name is Y
As we have shown, the J came from the letter I. The New Book of Knowledge shows the letter I (hence the J as well) derived from the Hebrew yothe (y), which is the first letter of Yahweh’s Name (hwhy, YHWH, known as the Tetragrammaton or “four letters”; Hebrew is read from right to left). It is also the first letter of Yahshua’s Name. The letter I (yothe or yod) in Hebrew carries the sound of “ee” as in “police.”
The King James Version and other Bibles employ the Latinized-Greek “Jesus.” But the facts of etymology prove that this cannot be His true name. If the King James and other Bibles are in error in calling the Savior “Jesus,” how did the error come about? And how can we determine exactly what that precious Name is?
The fact is, the first copies of the 1611 King James Bible did not use the letter J (see production at top). And no evidence is found to show that the letter I had the consonantal sound of J. This has been shown in the New Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia:
“Not until the middle of the 17th century did this usage become universal in English books; in the King James Bible of 1611 for example, the words Jesus and judge are invariably Iesus and iudge.”
Oscar Ogg’s books, The 26 Letters, which gives a history of each letter of the English alphabet, explains how the J, along with the U and W, were the last to be added to the alphabet:
“The three missing letters, J, U and W, were not used by the Romans at all. U and W developed from V about a thousand years ago, and J developed from the letter I about five hundred years ago,” p. 106.
As already confirmed, most of our American vocabulary employing the letter J stems from the French. Nearly all words containing the letter J in English are pronounced as in French, such as journal or major, although French has a considerably softer pronunciation of J than English. In Spanish the J is more of an h aspirate as in “San Jose.”
After development of the letter J, the Savior’s Name was changed by the translators to Jesus, but continued to be pronounced much like the letter Y. However, the pronunciation of the J soon changed completely from its former “yee” sound to our present “juh” through French influence. In Latin the J was pronounced as a Y. Even today, the German tongue, among others, pronounces the J like a Y (July – Yulee; Ja = Ya; Major in German is pronounced as “mayor;” June is “Yunee”). Note the comments of author F.F. Bruce in his The Books and the Parchments: “In the English Bible, Hebrew proper names with yod are represented with j, which in modern English has quite a different sound from y. Thus ‘Jehovah-jireh’ would have been pronounced in Hebrew something like Yahweh yeereh” (footnote, p. 40).
In his book, Story of the Letters and Figures, Hubert M. Skinner provides an excellent summation of the discordant transformation inflicted on the Savior’s Name:
“In some way, various modern peoples who received the J from the Romans have lost the original sound, and have substituted something very different. We retain the former sound in our word ‘hallelujah,’ but we generally give the letter the disagreeable soft sound of G. Yod is the initial of the name Jesus. It is unfortunate that a name so dear and so sacred is pronounced in a manner so different from that of the original word. The latter sounded very much as if it were Yashoo-ah, and was agreeable to the ear. Our sounds of J and hard S are the most disagreeable in our language, and they are both found in our pronunciation of this short name, although they did not exist in its original,” pp. 122-123.
‘Jesus’: A Word Out of Place and Time
The Bible clearly reveals that salvation is available in only one name: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The name the angel gave to Hebrew-speaking Mary and Joseph was Yahshua, meaning “Salvation of Yah.”
This original Name has been made a hybrid by translators and changed to the Latinized, Grecianized name Jesus – a name that came into our language about the time of Christopher Columbus. (For a detailed explanation, read our revealing ministudy, How the Savior’s Name Was Changed.)
The following Biblical study references clearly explain that “Jesus,” used in place of the Savior’s true Name Yahshua, is erroneous. (Some of these references correctly show the Y or I superior to the Mistaken J.)
► Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature: “Import of the Name. –There can be no doubt that Jesus is the Greek form of a Hebrew name...Its original and full form is Jehoshua (Num. 13:16). By contraction it became Joshua, or Jeshua; and when transferred into Greek, by taking the termination characteristics of that language, it assumed the form Jesus” (vol. 4, pp. 873-874).
► The Anchor Bible Dictionary: “Jesus [Gk. Iesous]. Several persons mentioned in the Bible bear this name, which is a Greek form of Joshua (Heb. Yehosua; cf. the Gk of Luke 3:29; Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8)...’Jesus Christ’ is a composite name made up of the personal name ‘Jesus’ (from the Gk Iesous, which transliterates Heb/Aram yesu(a), a late form of Hebrew yehosua, the meaning of which is ‘YHWH is salvation’ or ‘YHWH saves/has saved’)...” (III, p. 773).
► The Anchor Bible (note on Matthew 1:1): “Jesus. The word is the Greek rendering of a well-known Hebrew name. It was Yahoshu first, then by inner Hebrew phonetic change it became Yoshua, and by a still northern dialectal shift, Yeshua. The first element, Yahu (=Yahweh) means ‘the Lord,’ while the second comes from shua ‘To help, save.’ The most probable meaning is ‘O Lord, save.’” (Vol. 26, p.2)
► The New International Dictionary of The Christian Church: “Jesus Christ, The Founder of Christianity bore ‘Jesus’ (the Greek form of Joshua or Jeshua) as His personal name; ‘Christ’ (Gk. Christos, ‘anointed’) is the title given Him by His followers...” (p.531).
► Mercer Dictionary of the Bible: “Jeshua: An Aramaic form of the name Joshua, meaning ‘Yahweh is salvation.’ It occurs only in postexilic biblical literature, which supports the later origin of the name. Joshua, the son of Nun, is referred to in one passage as Jeshua (Neh. 8:17)” (p.444).
► Newberry Reference Bible (on Matt. 1:24): “Jesus, Heb. Joshua, or Jehoshua. Compare Num. 13:8, 16, where ‘Oshea,’ verse 8, signifying ‘Salivation,’ is altered in v.16 to ‘Jehoshua,’ ‘the Salvation of Jehovah,’ or ‘Jehovah the Savior.’”
► The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia: “Jesus (Iesous) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ‘Joshua’ (ucwhy, Yehoshua) meaning ‘Jehovah is salvation.’ It stands therefore in the LXX and Apoc for ‘Joshua,’ and in Acts 7:45 and Heb. 4:8 likewise represents the OT ‘Joshua.’ In Mt. 1:21 the name is commanded by the angel to be given to the son of Mary, ‘for it is he that shall save his people from their sins...It is the personal name of the L-rd in the Gospels and in the Acts...’” (Vol. 3, p.1626).
► The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary: “The given name Jesus means ‘savior,’ it is the Greek equivalent of Jeshua (Heb. Yesua, from yehosua ‘Yahweh saves’ [=Joshua]. Christ is the title, indicating that he is the ‘anointed one,’ the Messiah from Hebrew masiah).” ...”Jeshua (Heb. Yesua ‘Yahweh is salvation’)” (p.573).
► The Bible Almanac: “The name Jesus (which is identical with Joshua and means ‘God is Savior’) emphasizes His role as the Savior of His people (Mat. 1:21). Christ is the New Testament equivalent of Messiah, a Hebrew word meaning ‘anointed one’...” (p.522).
► Holman Bible Dictionary: “Jesus Christ: Greek form of Joshua and of title meaning ‘Yahweh is salvation’ and ‘the anointed one’ or ‘Messiah.’” (p.775).
► New International Dictionary of the New Testament Theology, “OT Iesous is the Gk. Form of the OT Jewish name Yesua, arrived at by transcribing the Heb. And adding an –s to the nominative to facilitate declension. Yesua (Joshua) seems to have come into general use about the time of the Babylonian exile in place of the older Yehosua. The LXX rendered both the ancient and more recent forms of the name uniformly as Iesous. Joshua the son of Nun, who according to the tradition was Moses’ successor and completed his work in the occupation of the promised land by the tribes of Israel, appears under this name...It is the oldest name containing the divine name Yahweh, and means ‘Yahweh is help’ or ‘Yahweh is salvation’ (cf. the verb yasa, help save). Joshua also appears in one post-exilic passage in the Heb. OT (Neh. 8:17) as Yesua the son of Nun, and not as in the older texts, Yehosua” (Vol. 2, pp.330-331).
► The Classic Bible Dictionary (Jay P. Green), page 633, under Jesus: “Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ‘Joshua,’ meaning ‘Jehovah is salvation.’ It stands therefore in the LXX and Apocrypha for ‘Joshua,’ and in Acts 7:45 and Heb. 4:8 likewise represents the OT Joshua.”
Author Green also comments on the Greek word “Christ:” “Christ (Christos) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah, meaning anointed.”
Thus we see that the Savior’s name as well as the descriptive title “Messiah” have been undermined and appear in Greek in changed form. Our Savior has been stripped of His Israelite roots.
► The SDA Bible Dictionary, page 565: “Jesus Christ [Gr. Iesous] (a transliteration of the Aramaic Yeshua, from the Heb. Yehoshua, ‘Joshua,’ meaning ‘Yahweh is Salvation’), Christos (a translation of the Heb. Mashiach, ‘Messiah,’ meaning anointed or anointed One).] The English form ‘Jesus’ comes from the Latin.”
► In Strange Facts About the Bible, author Garrison notes on page 81: “In its English form, ‘Jesus’ goes back to church Latin Iesus which is a transliteration of the Greek Iesous. But in its original Hebrew form it was Y’hoshua (‘Yahweh saves’), frequently abbreviated to Joshua...”
► Ian Wilson’s Jesus: The Evidence, says on page 66; “’Yeshua’, as Jesus would actually have been addressed, means ‘God saves’, and is merely a shortened form of the more old fashioned ‘Yehoshua (‘Joshua’ of the Old Testament).”
► New Bible Dictionary (edited by J.D. Douglas) reads under Jesus: “The name Jesus is not strictly a title for the person who bore it. It is, however, a name with a meaning, being a Greek form of ‘Joshua’, i.e. ‘Yahweh is salvation’. The NT writers were well aware of this meaning (Mt. 1:21). The name thus indicated the function which was ascribed to Jesus, and this later found expression in the title Saviour...” (p.584).
► Alford’s Greek Testament, An Exegetical and Critical Commentary: “Jesus –The same name as Joshua, the former deliverer of Israel.”
► Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion: “Jesus (The Name) –Matthew’s Gospel explains it as symbolic of His mission, ‘For He will save His people from their sins.’ This agrees with its popular meaning as ‘Yahweh saves...’” p. 1886.
► A Dictionary of the Bible, by James Hastings: “Jesus –the Greek form (Ihsous) of the name Joshua (ucwhy) or Jeshua. Jeshua – Yahweh is salvation or Yahweh is opulence” (pp.603- 602).
► New International Dictionary of the Christian Church: “Jesus Christ, The Founder of Christianity bore ‘Jesus’ (the Greek form of Joshua or Jeshua) as His personal name; ‘Christ’ (Gk. christos, ‘anointed’) is the title given Him by His followers...” (p. 531).
All of these authorities and scholars agree. His name is not the Latinized Grecianized name “Jesus,” but reflects His Hebrew heritage and the mission He was given to save His people through the Name of the Heavenly Father Yahweh.
So how did He end up with the name so many erroneously call on today?
Greek Not the Original New Testament Language
Very early in history, even before the Messiah, Greek had become a world language. Alexander the Great conquered the lands east and south of Greece, establishing Hellenistic culture and society as far as the Indus River and south into Egypt.
The koine or common Greek dialect prevailed, becoming dominant in the wake of Alexander’s exploits. Greek survived the ravages of Roman persecution, as well as the crusades, and continued to be spoken up to the time of the Muslim conquest of the Mediterranean area.
Following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., Rome crushed the Bar Kochba rebellion in 135 C.E. The Roman army destroyed anything Jewish, especially religious scrolls and books, including their Torah. This was followed by the Catholic inquisitions in Europe, eradicating anything Jewish. The crusaders made fair game of the Jews, ruthlessly destroying any vestiges of Hebrew writings.
Thus, between the suppression carried out by the Romans and the later Crusades, any Hebrew copies of both Old and New Testament writings were lost. Only Greek copies survived. Neither are there any original Hebrew Old Testaments manuscripts, only copies of copies of copies.
An increasing number of competent Bible scholars now agree with scholar Charles Cutler Torrey (Documents of the Primitive Church) that the New Testament in whole or part was first written in Hebrew and only later translated into Greek. (Write us for a list of renowned Bible scholars who uphold an original Hebrew New Testament, as well as read the ministudy, Was the New Testament Originally Greek?)
In the September 12, 1986 issue of The Washington Times, David Bivin notes that Yahshua, like His contemporaries, most likely spoke Hebrew, Bivin, the director for the Jerusalem School for the Study of the Gospels, also believes that the original account of Yahshua’s life was written in Hebrew, not Greek of Aramaic. In addition, he and his Jerusalem scholars agree that by considering the Evangels Hebraic, many textual difficulties are cleared up, strongly suggesting that the Evangels were first written in Hebrew.
Even Martin Luther recognized the Hebrew roots of the New Testament. He wrote in Tischreden, “Although the New Testament was written in Greek, it is full of Hebraisms and Hebrew expressions. It has therefore been aptly said that the Hebrews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latins from the downstream pool” (translated by Pinchas E. Lapide in Hebrew in the Church, p.10).
Where is the justification for changing the Savior’s Name? Even in a Greek context, there is no J or J sound in the Koine or in any Greek dialect known. The Greek New Testament of the Bible provides the basis for our present Latin and English translations. Obviously the J came from another source, as Greek has no phonetic equivalent of the letter J in its 24 characters of the alphabet. Neither does Hebrew. The words judge, journal, jack, jam, jet, jog, etc., likely would all be spelled beginning with the Greek iota (English I) and would be pronounced as “ee.” In English the letter j would be replaced by the letter i. We would read iudge, iournal, iack, iam, iet, iog, etc. Some orthographers would prefer that these examples begin with today’s letter y instead of i.
We cannot ignore the fact that there was no letter J in ANY language until around the 15th century, and therefore must conclude that the name “Jesus” never existed before 500 years ago. Let us not forget that we read from a Hebrew Bible. It is the account of Yahweh’s dealing with His people Israel. Yahweh spoke to a people who understood Hebrew. Yahweh is the Mighty One of the Hebrews. Remember also that there was no Jew before the time of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. So the Sacred Name is not Jewish.
The seeker of truth must not shy from the Hebrew roots of true Biblical faith, for we are children of Abraham, a Hebrew (Gen. 14:13). Hebrew means to “cross over,” and we are to “cross over” the falsity and error of this world and join in pure worship of Yahweh and His Son Y ahshua.
Savior’s Name Explained in Bible Versions
Inspired Scripture calls attention to a singular Name wherein rests our eternal salvation.
The following Bible versions have these footnote explanations on Matthew 1:21, the verse where the angel tells Joseph (Yowceph) what to name the Redeemer of mankind:
● “’Jesus’ (Hebr. Jehoshua) means ‘Yahweh saves’”—The Jerusalem Bible.
● “’Jesus’ is the Greek form of Joshua, which means ‘the Lord saves’” –New International Version.
● “’Jesus,’ from the Greek form of a common Hebrew name (Joshua) derived from yasha, ‘he saves’” –Harper Collins Study Bible
● “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Adonai saves’], because he will save his people from their sins” –Jewish New Testament, David Stern, translator.
● “Heb. Yoshia, reflected in the name Yeshua (Gr. Jesus)” –The Original New Testament, Hugh J. Schonfield.
● “Jesus: The Greek form of ‘Jeshua’....The full significance of the name ‘Jesus’ is seen in the original ‘Yehoshua,’ which means ‘Jehovah the Savior,’ and not merely ‘Savior,’ as the word is often explained” –Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech.
● “Jesus Christ. The name ‘Jesus’ is from the Greek (and Latin) for the Hebrew ‘Jeshua’ (Joshua), which means ‘the Lord is salvation.’ ‘Christ’ is from the Greek for the Hebrew ‘Meshiah’ (Messiah), meaning ‘anointed one’”—Ryrie Study Bible
● “Jesus, Yeshua, meaning ‘Jehovah Is Salvation’” –The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures.
The following commentaries add their observations on the Savior’s Name:
♦ Matthew Henry’s Commentary (on Matthew 1:21): “Jesus is the same name with Joshua, the termination only being changed, for the sake of conforming it to the Greek.”
♦ Interpreter’s Bible (Note on Matthew 1:21): “Jesus for He shall save: The play on words (Yeshua, Jesus; yoshia, shall save) is possible in Hebrew but not in Aramaic. The name Joshua means “Yahweh is salvation.”
♦ Barnes’ Notes (Note on Matthew 1:21): “His name Jesus: The name Jesus is the same as Saviour. It is derived from the verb signifying to save. In Hebrew it is the same as Joshua. In two places [Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8] in the New Testament it is used where it means Joshua, the leader of the Jews [Israel] into Canaan, and in our translation the name Joshua should not have been retained.”
The prefix Yah is the short or poetic form of YAH-weh the Heavenly Father’s Name as found in HalleluYAH and in names of many Biblical personalities, as we will see. Thus, the Savior’s Name begins with the prefix “Yah” that begins Yahweh’s Name, as revealed in Psalm 68:4: “Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to his name: extol him that rides upon the heavens by his name JAH [YAH], and rejoice before him.” “Shua,” the last part of the Savior’s Name, carries the primary meaning of “salvation.” Thus, Yahshua means “the salvation of Yah.”
When Israel crossed over the Red Sea, Moses sang a song of thanks to Yahweh in Exodus 15. The saving name appears in verse 2, “Yah is become my salvation,” which was to be Yahshua!
The following reasons clearly show why the name Jesus could never have been the Savior’s Name:
► There is no letter J or equivalent in Hebrew.
► There is no letter J or equivalent in Greek.
► There was no letter J in English until about 500 years ago.
► “Jesus,” an etymological hybrid from Greek and Latin, has no inherent, etymological meaning in Greek or Latin, not to mention Hebrew or English.
► Joseph (“Yowceph” in Hebrew), a Hebrew and a Jew, was told by the angel Gabriel that Mary (Miriam), a Jewess, would give birth to One Who would “save His people Israel from their sins,” Matthew 1:21. Only the Hebrew name “Yahshua” means “Salvation of Yah” (“Yah”shua). He Himself said that He is come in His Father’s Name (“Yah”weh/”Yah”shua) and “you receive me not,” John 5:43.
► Mary, a Hebrew, was told the same thing that Joseph was, Luke 1:31.
► Would a celestial being announce the coming Savior to Jews who spoke Hebrew (or Aramaic), proclaiming a Romanized, Grecian name beginning with a letter J that did not exist, but would originate in a European tongue 1500 years later? Remember it was to Israel, a Semitic people who spoke and understood Hebrew, that His saving Name was first revealed.
► Would HEBREW parents give their baby a hybridized GREEK name devoid of any meaning – especially such an important name that would identify the very Savior of the world?
How Did ‘Yahshua’ Become ‘Jesus’?
It is necessary that we understand the prefix “YAH” has come to us in the form “YEH” (a type of which is found in “Yeshua” commonly used for Yahshua). It is also manifest in the names JEHovah and Jesus.
Almost any scholarly reference work will acknowledge that Rabbinic tradition has suppressed the true Name Yahweh centuries before the Messiah came at Bethlehem. Writing Yahweh’s Name in the Hebrew, Jewish scribes inserted a shewa (:) instead of the proper qamets (T), thus changing the vowel sound “ah” in “Yah” to “eh.” This was done to conceal the sacred Name, thus yielding the improper Yehovah and Yeshua.
This is practiced even today by such groups as the Jews for Jesus, who contend that “Y’shua’ is the Jewish way to say “Jesus.” This may have been done to avoid offending the Jews and their proscription against even the short form YAH.
Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary clearly shows the erroneous vowel pointing of YAH to YEH in the first column of page 48 where the resulting “YEH” is obvious. In every name in this column, a shewa (:) appears under the Hebrew letter yod (y:), and the pronunciation given following the Hebrew spelling begins with the prefix “YEH.”
Using the “e” instead of the proper “a” is another ploy of the Adversary to do away with the family Name YAH, the first syllable of both Yahweh’s and Yahshua’s Name.
This explains how the “e” came about in the name Jesus. The next letter in Jesus, s, results from the fact that Greek has no “sh” sound, only “s” (sigma) sound. This was incorporated into the Latin text. The “u” in Jesus comes from the u in Yahshua. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology explains, “Iesous is the Greek form of the Old Testament Jewish name Yesua [Yahshua], arrived at by transcribing the Hebrew and adding an s to the nom. to facilitate declension.”
The final “s” in “Jesus” is the Greek nominative masculine singular ending. Matthew 1:8-11 contains the genealogy of Joseph’s line, where we can find similar examples of “s” added to produce Greek-inflected Hebrew names: Uzziah becomes Ozias; Hezekiah becomes Ezekias; Jonah becomes Jonas, etc. The errors that we find among names in most versions can be traced to translators. The early Christian translators relied upon the Greek translation called the Septuagint as their source of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Is it not significant that even though these Hebrew names were Grecianized, that they still are recognizable? Why then in English versions does Yahweh’s Name become changed to a completely foreign “God,” while “Yahshua” mutates into “Jesus,” a substitute that is not even close to the original?
Why the change, when even the name of the Adversary – Satan – retains its original Hebrew form and close pronunciation? (Saw-tawn, Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary No. 7854).
Adam Clarke’s respected comments on the inferior early translations are informative: “Through the ignorance and carelessness of transcribers innumerable mistakes have been made in ancient names. These also have suffered very greatly in their transfusion from one language to another, till at last the original name is almost totally lost...Besides, neither the Greeks nor Romans could pronounce either the Hebrew or Persian names; and when engaged in the task of transcribing, they did it according to their own manner of pronunciation,” Clarke’s Commentary, vol. 3, pp. 393-394. Clearly, some over-zealous scribe tampered with the text of the King James Bible and what we have is a New Testament in which the Name of Yahshua has been adulterated and almost obscured.
For an example of this, look at Acts 7:45 in the King James Version. The sentence reads,
“Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles whom [Elohim] drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David.” But the account is actually speaking of the Old Testament Joshua, the son of Nun!
Another example is found in Hebrews 4:8, “For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.” Many study Bibles will have notes on these two verses pointing out that the more correct name is JOSHUA the son of Nun.
Certain translations other than the King James have corrected this error and inserted “Joshua” in the text. Thus, we can see that this name is the same as that given by Moses to his successor in Numbers 13:16. It is also the name of the Savior (corrected with the “Yah”). This shows how the translators overzealously changed all the “Yahshua’s” to “Jesus”—even when it referred to someone in the Old Testament not the Savior.
Go to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary and peruse page 47, taking special note of the second name from the top of the right column, No. 3050, YAHH. Notice this is the correct spelling and pronunciation of the short form YAH and includes the qametes under the yod: (3050. hy Yahh, yaw).
Although author James Strong is noted for his classic concordance, his understanding of the Name was lacking and he used the erroneous Jehovah. However, his is correct in listing No. 3050 YAHH, spelling it with the vowel a instead of e and the double hh to bring out the “ahh” sound.
The importance of the short form YAHH takes on additional significance when we read John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name....” We understand this to mean that He came in the authority and power of the Heavenly Father. Yet, we must understand that His Name Yahshua also included His Father’s Name, YAH. It is the short form, the prefix of the Name Yahshua! (Followers of Yahshua will be carrying that Name in the Kingdom, Eph. 3:14-15; Dan. 9:19).
The custom of reading a substitute name when the Tetragrammaton was encountered in the Hebrew Scriptures was carried over into the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the LXX (Septuagint). The translation was said to have been made by seventy Hebrew translators for the King of Egypt who wanted a copy of this great book of the Hebrews for the grand library of Alexandria in Egypt. The letters LXX (meaning “70”) are often used as an abbreviation for the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament.
In making the Greek translation, the copyists inserted the four characters of the Tetragrammaton in gold letters of the Hebrew, namely hwhy, wherever the name Yahweh was to appear. However, the pronunciation was pointed with the vowels of Adonai. After the death and resurrection of the Messiah, there arose a demand for a Latin version of the Hebrew Old Testament by the expanding church. These early translators were not skilled in the Hebrew language, and actually detested the Jews and refused to learn the Aramaic or Hebrew tongue. They were ignorant of Hebrew and were often ridiculed by the Jews for their ludicrous pronunciation of Hebrew. (See this booklet’s section, “Why the Terms ‘God’ and ‘Lord’?” on page 26).
And What About ‘Jehovah’?
Scholars know that Jehovah could never be the name of the Heavenly Father. Aside from the error with the letter J, this word has other problems. Even the Catholics, who have been given the distinction of inventing the word “Jehovah,” know it is not the Father’s Name.
Note what the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) says under “Yahweh”: “Judging from Greek transcriptions of the sacred name, YHWH ought to be pronounced Yahweh. 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 the word Adonai with the consonants of YHWH,” p. 1065
In the preface to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible is the following: “The form Jehovah is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word. The sound of Y is represented by J and the sound of W by V, as in Latin. The word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew,” pp. 6-7.
In the introduction to The Emphasized Bible, editor Joseph Rotherham writes, “The pronunciation Jehovah was unknown until 1520, when it was introduced by Galatinus; but was contested by Le Mercier, J. Drusius, against grammatical and historical propriety.” Rotherham continues his analysis of this ghost word, “Erroneously written and pronounced Jehovah, which is merely a combination of the sacred Tetragrammaton and the vowel in the Hebrew word for Lord, substituted by the Jews for YHWH, because they shrank from pronouncing The Name...To give the name YHWH the vowels of the word for Lord (Heb. Adonai) and pronounce it Jehovah, is about as hybrid a combination as it would be to spell the name Germany with the vowels in the name Portugal –viz., Gormuna” (pp.24-25).
Perhaps the best explanation of how the word Jehovah came about is made in the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary. A photocopy of its entry on “Jehovah” is shown at the top of the page.
The sacred Name was deemed too holy to pronounce. Either because of this fact or because its four letters are also employed as vowels, the Masoretes did not vowel point the Tetragrammaton. Instead, the vowel points for “Adonai” were inserted, alerting the reader to say “Adonai” rather than blurting out the sacred Name Yahweh. Along came Christian scholars in late medieval times who didn’t realize what had been done. Not skilled in Hebrew, they mistakenly combined these added vowels with the Tetragrammaton and the result was the hybrid combination “Jehovah.”
The Jewish Encyclopedia says about the name Jehovah, “This name is commonly represented in modern translations by the form ‘Jehovah,’ which, however, is a philological impossibility...This form has arisen through attempting to pronounce the consonants of the name with the vowels of Adonai...” (p.160).
The Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves admit that “Jehovah” is inferior to “Yahweh.” In their book, Let Your Name Be Sanctified (p.16), they quote the Roman Catholic translator of The Westminster Version of the Sacred Scriptures, saying, “I should have preferred to write ‘Yahwe,’ in which, although not certain, is admittedly superior to ‘Jehovah,’”
On page 17 of this same book the Jehovah’s Witnesses write, “In harmony with the practice that had developed among the superstitious, the vowel signs for Elohim or for Adonay were inserted at the accustomed places in the text to warn the Hebrew reader to say those words instead of the divine name. By combining those warning vowel sings with the Tetragrammaton the pronunciation Yahowih and Yehowah were formed.”
Then on page 20 they quote the Lexicon for the Books of the Old Testament, by Koehler and Baumgartner, under the Tetragrammaton: “’The wrong spelling Jehovah (Revised Version: The LORD) occurs since about 1100,’ and then it offers its arguments in favor of Yahweh as ‘the correct and original pronunciation.’”
In the foreword of their Bible, The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (published by the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower Bible and Tract Society), they say on page 25: “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. In our search for truth we must retrace our steps and boldly proclaim His true Name, and not follow tradition or erroneous understanding.
Biblical Names Reveal the Person
Our culture today looks on names as little more than labels, although we still talk about having a “good name” and speak of being “true to one’s name.” These expressions are carryovers from a time when a name expressed and conveyed a person’s attributes and character.
In the Hebrew, Bible names all have meaning. At times Yahweh or Yahshua (or sometimes parents) changed the name of individuals, giving them a special name that had new meaning. For example, Abram means exalted father; later his name was changed to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude.” Isaac means “laughter” (because his mother laughed when promised a son in her old age). Jacob (Yacob) means “heel-grabber” or “supplanter,” because he supplanted his firstborn brother Esau. His name was changed to Israel, meaning “contender” or “perseveres with El,” when he wrestled with the angel in Genesis 32.
An eye-opening study of the names of the 12 tribes of Israel appears in Genesis chapter 29-30. Situations surrounding the birth of each of these sons is reflected in their individual names. The Hebrew Dictionary found at the back of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance provides a fascinating exercise in the meaning of names.
In his book, Our Father Abraham, Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith, Marvin R. Wilson writes: “In Hebrew thought, the name of an individual was considered to be more than a title or a label for identification. Rather, a name was believed to reveal the essence, character, reputation, or destiny of the one to whom it was given. This is why the moral law of Moses forbids defamation of another’s name by false witness (Ex. 20:16). Thus the name of every Hebrew sent out some sort of message with it.”
The message of Yahweh’s Name throughout Scripture is that it is sacred, and one either accepts it or finds oneself in opposition to Him. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary explains:
“[Yahweh’s] name reveals his character and salvation in which people may take refuge (Ps. 20:1; cf. Isa. 25:1, 56:6); to treat [Yahweh’s] name as empty is to despise his person (Ex. 20:7),” p. 747.
Yahweh: The Most Sacred of All Names
Yahweh’s Name is high on a level all its own. No name is more important than the personal Name of the One we worship. Not only is this true because names have great significance in Hebrew, but also because Yahweh Himself tells us to revere His Name and not to bring it to obscurity through substitution and disuse, Exodus 20:7. The word “vain” in the Third Commandment –“Thou shalt not take the Name of Yahweh thy Elohim in vain” –is the Hebrew shoaw, meaning to rush over, bring to devastation, uselessness, ruin, and by implication, neglect. The one attribute describing Yahweh’s Name more than any other is its holiness. His Name is not to be blasphemed (Lev. 24:16) or desecrated. It is to be treated with reverential awe, because it expresses the essence of Yahweh Himself.
We can bring His Name to ruin by falsifying it. If you remove an author’s name from the books he wrote and reprint them with another name in them you falsify his works. The same is true when translators take His Name from the Scriptures and insert generic titles in its place.
How can we presume to call upon Yahweh and His Son Yahshua with titles like “god” and “lord” that are used in the worship of other deities? Elijah (EliYah, “my El is Yah”) was calling the people’s attention to the same issue in 1Kings 18 –demonstrating that the True Heavenly Father has a personal Name and that they in their ignorance were calling on titles of Baal (“Baal Gad” = Lord God) in their worship (see Harper Collins Study Bible note on Hosea 2:16). Baal was the chief “deity” of the Canaanites.
Yahweh charged that they had forgotten His Name for Baal, Jeremiah 23:26-27. If Yahweh was displeased with the substitution “Baal,” why would He not be just as provoked with today’s substitution of an equivalent word, “Lord”?
Yahweh’s Name is so central to salvation that the Savior’s Name bears it as well. He is the Son, and the salvation Yahweh sent. You could say “Yah” is the family Name of the Heavenly Majesty.
Author Wilson notes,
“The fact that Jesus was a Jew by birth is crucial for understanding the nature and person of Jesus as presented in the Gospels. Jesus was given the Hebrew name Yeshua. (‘Jesus’ is the Latin form of ‘Iesous,’ the Greek transliteration of Yeshua.) The name Yeshua, derived from the Hebrew verb yashua, revealed the destiny he was to fulfill in his life and ministry on this earth” (Our Father Abraham, Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith).
All religions generally are known by the one they worship or give homage to. Anciently the god of the Akkadians was Marduk; the god of the Ammonites was Moloch; the god of the Greeks was Zeus; the god of the Romans was Jupiter; the god of the Moabites was Baal-peor; the god of the Hebrews was...God?! Using an all-inclusive, indefinite, impersonal title simply does not identify the One you worship! Capitalizing that title doesn’t help, either, no more than the title “mr.” suddenly becomes a name if we make it “Mr.”
Strange, isn’t it, that all the pagan “deities” have their own special names, yet we are expected to believe that the TRUE Mighty One of the Bible goes by general terms that can apply to any “deity”?
In fact, the Name Yahweh appears 6,823 times in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, from which we ultimately derive all versions of the Old Testament. It should have appeared 100 times in the New Testament. But rarely does one hear the Name used or even mentioned in churches that supposedly honor those same Scriptures.
The majority of Bible versions have changed the holy Name to the titles God and Lord. You can restore it when you read the Scripture, however. In many King James Bibles, whenever you see the words LORD or LORD GOD in capital letters in the Old Testament, the Masoretic
Hebrew Script has the Hebrew characters for Yahweh, hwhy. (To help when you read your Bible, request the bookmark, Correcting the Name in Your Bible.)
Yahshua: A Name Given in Hebrew to a Hebrew
Because there is no J sound in the Hebrew, the prefix “Je” does not exist in Hebrew. The combination word “Jesus” is not Greek, it’s not Hebrew. In fact, it is completely without philological meaning in any language. Yet, Gabriel told Mary and Joseph that the Messiah’s Name, being given from the very highest Authority in the heavens, was special. It had a specific connotation, a precise and very important MEANING. The angel said He would be given this Name because “He shall save His people from their sins.” Scholars acknowledge that the name given through Gabriel was the Hebrew Yahshua. (See any good study Bible with marginal notes on Matt. 1:21 and Luke 1:31, as well as the Biblical sources listed here.) “Yahshua” means “Yahweh is salvation.”
It must be noted that whenever a message was given from on high, it was to those who understood Hebrew, which is called by some the “heavenly language.” Thus, when the angel told Joseph, a Jew, that the Savior would be born of Mary, a Jewess, that he was to call the baby a specific name, this name would hardly have been a Latin-Greek name such as Jesus! How His name came to us as Jesus in our English Bible such as the King James instead of Yahshua is interesting.
The Savior’s true Name in Hebrew letters look like this: ucwhy. Read from right to left, as in all Semitic languages, His Name begins with a (y) (known in English Bibles as “jot,” Mat. 5:18, but in the Hebrew is the yothe or yod).
Yothe carries the sound of i as in machine. This “ee” sound is then followed by an a, which is much like an “ah” sound. This diphthong is pronounced “ee-ah” or “Yah,” which is the short form of the Heavenly Father’s name “Yah-weh.” We see it in the suffix “halleluYah” and in the names of many people of Scripture (IsaYah, JeremiYah, ObadiYah, ZechariYah, ZephaniYah, etc.).
Add the suffix “shua” (meaning “salvation”) and we have Yahshua, the “Salvation of Yah.” That the language spoken was Hebrew is clear from Matthew 1:23, where the Savior is referred to as Emmanuel, a purely Hebrew word meaning “El with us,” and is so transliterated for us in that passage.
You can see for yourself that the name of your Savior was Yahshua by referring to Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary. Look up the name “Jesus” in Strong’s, which shows that it first appears in Matthew 1:1, with the reference No. 2424. Turn to the Greek Dictionary in the back of Strong’s (Greek, because it is in the New Testament) and note the following entry:
‘Ihsous Iesous, ee-ay-sooce’; of Hebrew origin [No.3091]; Jesus (i.e. Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites:-Jesus.
We learn the Savior’s name is of Hebrew origin from No. 3091. In the Hebrew section of Strong’s, No. 3091 has the Hebrew characters that are transliterated into English as follows:
uwcwhy Yehowshuwa’, yeh-ho-shoo’-ah: or ucwhy Yehowshu’a, ye-ho-shoo’-ah from No. 3068 and No. 3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (i.e. Joshua), the Jewish leader: -Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare Nos. 1954, 3442.
By the time of Yahshua’s birth, the accepted form among the Jews was not Yahoshua, but the shortened form Yahshua. In the Old Testament this name is spelled Joshua and is found in Numbers 13:16 of the King James text where Moses changed the name of the Israelite general from Oshea (or Hosea) to Yahshua. That is, from salvation or savior to “Salvation of Yah.”
Most reference works agree with Kittle’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament statement on page 284, which states that the name Yahoshua was shortened after the exile to the short form Yahshua.
The fact that the Greek Dictionary (No. 2424) refers the reader back to the Hebrew section of Strong’s Concordance clearly shows that the name Jesus stems from the Hebrew Yahshua.
It is rather doubtful the derivation of Jesus is from the pagan deity “Zeus” of the Greeks. However, some draw a relationship to the “salvation” or “healing” of Ea-Zeus. According to the Dictionary of Comparative Religion (p.622), “The Greeks generally identified the chief god of other peoples with Zeus (e.g. Amun, Hadad, Yahweh).” From Bux and Schone, Worterbuch der Antika, under “Jesus,” we find: “Jesus: really adapted from the Greek, possibly from the name of the Greek healing goddess Ieso (Iaso).”
Although some evidence could support a conclusion for a Greek deity connection, it is more likely that “Jesus” resulted from a crude attempt to transliterate (bring over the sound) from Hebrew to Greek to Latin and then to English, losing the true vocalization with each step.
Young’s Analytical Concordance has one line for Jesus which reads:
JE’-SUS, ‘Ihsous, from Heb. uwcy saviour.
As already noted, the early Christians were ignorant of Hebrew and cared less for the language of “those detestable Jews.” Therefore, they relied upon the Greek Septuagint (LXX) Old Testament as their source instead of going directly to the Hebrew texts. We are not free to reject the Name Yahshua, the very Name sent directly from Yahweh through the archangel Gabriel. Nor are we absolved to call Him by the man-made, Greco-Latin Jesus.
We trust you will prayerfully act on this vital truth and prove to yourself that His true Name as given to mankind from the Highest Authority in the universe is Yahshua, “Yah’s salvation.” Realize that when you call on the Name Yahshua you are invoking the Father’s Name as well, and petitioning the only One who can give salvation.
‘Adonai’ Replaces Sacred Name
The early translators who gave us the English version of the Bible were not Hebrew scholars. They based their understanding mostly on the Greek texts, the Septuagint for the Old Testament and the extant Greek texts for the New Testament. Generally they were ignorant of Hebrew and sometimes lacked in their knowledge of Hebrew grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.
Because of the animosity between the Jews and their Roman rulers, it was a common practice for Roman soldiers to search for and destroy any religious Hebrew texts of the Jews and Messianic believers alike. Initially, the Romans made no distinction between Jews and converts of the early Assembly, for their worship appeared basically the same. Both worshiped on the weekly Saturday Sabbath and observed the annual festivals, both read from the same Old Testament Hebrew scrolls in their study and worship. It was not until the third century that a distinction was made between traditional Jewish worship and those who had gone on to accept Yahshua as the Messiah.
The admitted ignorance of the early Christian scholars of the Hebrew language lies at the root of the misspelling and variations of the sacred Name. The Jews often ridiculed and derided these Christians who claimed to be scholars, but stumbled in their efforts to pronounce Hebrew words. By the time of the Messiah the custom of not pronouncing the sacred Name in public by the Jews became mandatory. This practice had apparently developed from the warning in Leviticus 24:16, “And he that blasphemes the name of Yahweh shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well as the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemes the name of Yahweh shall be put to death.” By not using the Sacred Name, one could not blaspheme it, and so it was not invoked except by the high priest on the Day of Atonement.
Thus came about the custom in the synagogue of reading “adonai” instead of the Sacred Name when the Tetragrammaton (hwhy) appeared in the texts. The logic being, by calling upon a substitute instead of invoking the Name, the Name could not be blasphemed.
In Jeremiah 44:26 we read another verse that stifled any public utterance of the Sacred Name, especially during the captivity. “Therefore hear you the word of Yahweh, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; behold, I have sworn by My great name says Yahweh, that My name shall no more be names in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Yahweh Elohim lives.’”
This became especially critical when the Jews were taken captive to Babylon. Psalm 137 relates that they refused to sing the songs of Zion (using Yahweh’s Name) in a strange land lest the Name and worship be subject to ridicule by the gentiles. Thus the ban on uttering the sacred Name became firmly entrenched and was the general practice by the time the Savior came to earth.
While the Jewish zealots would not invoke (vocalize) the sacred Name, it was their custom to write it in the sacred texts, carefully placing the vowels of Adonai over the Tetragrammaton to warn the reader not to utter the sacred Name, but to use “adonai.” The scribes did, however, place the Hebrew Tetragrammaton in the Greek Septuagint translation. Christian scholars did not understand these sacred four Hebrew letters (hwhy) and translated them into the Greek as pipi, thinking it was the doubling of two Greek letters – pi (pipi) --- read left to right rather than from right to left as in Hebrew. When the proper pronunciation was pointed out to them they inserted the Greek letters Iao, which closely corresponded to YHWH.
Kurios, Theos: Greek Substitutes for Name
Recent discoveries of Greek manuscripts of the Old Testaments reveal that the sacred Name was preserved in Hebrew or Aramaic letters in the first and second centuries B.C.E.
Writings in the Journal of Biblical Literature, professor George Howard observes, “From these findings we can now say with almost absolute certainty that the divine name hwhy was not rendered by Kurios [Kurios] in the pre-Christian Greek Bible, as so often has been thought. Usually the Tetragram was written out in Aramaic or in paleo-Hebrew letters or was transliterated into Greek letters” (Vol. 96, 1977, p. 65).
The Greek translators later entirely eliminated the Hebrew Tetragram, a Greek word meaning “four letters,” substituting the Greek Kurios [Lord] or Theos [God] for the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, as they believed that the Greek text was as sacred as the Hebrew. However, neither Kurios nor Theos is a transliteration of the Hebrew hwhy. Kurios and Theos are not names. They do not represent the Tetragrammaton, nor do they have the same meaning.
Howard writes, “Toward the end of the first Christian century, when the church had become predominately Gentile, the motive for retaining the Hebrew name Yahweh was lost and the words kyrios and theos were substituted for it in Christian copies of Old Testament Septuagint’s...Before long the divine name was lost to the Gentile church except insofar as it was reflected in the contracted surrogates or remembered by scholar,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March 1978.
Thus, the sacred Name not only was obscured by zealous Jews, but also the Greek substitutes soon found their way into both the Old and New Testament translations.
Why the Terms ‘God’ and ‘Lord’?
It can readily be seen that if the Greek text was considered as sacred as the Hebrew, then the Greek replacements for the Tetragrammaton were thought to be on an equal footing with the Hebrew Name. When the Bible was translated into other languages, the Greek texts were used because translators had a better understanding of the Greek than they did the Hebrew.
Being that Kurios and Theos are Greek terms, a more familiar substitute was customarily used in each language in which the Scriptures were translated. Thus, “Kurios” was rendered “Lord” in English texts and “Theos” was replaced with “God.” These designations, however, should never have been used as surrogates for the sacred Name. Their connotations tell why.
Lord comes from the Old English hlaford, meaning “keeper of the loaf.” It refers to a person who feeds dependents, as in the head of a feudal estate (Webster’s New World Dictionary). The meaning of Lord corresponds almost precisely with the heathen deity Baal. “God” derives from the Old Teutonic root gheu, meaning to invoke and to pour, as in a molten image (“God,” Oxford English Dictionary). (See further explanations below.)
This base root for god, gheu, has another derivative – giddy—from the Old English gydig, and gidig, meaning “possessed, insane, from the Germanic gud-igaz, “possessed by a god” (American Heritage Dictionary under gheu). This source makes the remarkable statement, “Giddy can be traced back to the same Germanic root gud-that has given us the word God.”
Ancient Roots of ‘God’ and ‘Lord’
Many Bible references reveal that the Hebrew word “Baal” has the same meanings as our English word “Lord.” See the footnotes and center column references on Hosea 2:16 in various Bibles (for example: “Baali = My Lord” – Companion Bible note). Throughout the Book of Judges we find that Israel continually fell back into the worship of the Baalim (Lords). In 1Kings 16:29-17:1, Ahab became a king and plunged Israel into full-scale Baal worship. An interlinear version will show that in 1Kings 18:19 and 21 the word is “ha Baal,” meaning “the Lord.” For an apostate Israel, Yahweh had become the “ha Baal” (the Lord) of Israel. (See top of page 37, “Baal – Lord”.)
Rather than having a special, close relationship with Israel through His Name, Yahweh now found Israel worshiping in a common title used for the idols of the nations around them.
The prophet Isaiah excoriated Israel for their abominations in serving pagan idols. One of the most prominent was the Syrian god of fate or luck, otherwise known as Gad: “But you are they that forsake Yahweh, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number” (Isa. 65:11). “Troop” is translated from the Hebrew Gad, pronounced “God” (see Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, No. 1409, and note the phonetic Gawd in this reference.).
Our word “God” and its Germanic roots “Gott” and “Gut” are connected to the ancient Syrian idol “Baal Gad,” which Yahweh judged Israel for worshiping. The New Bible Dictionary says of Gad, “A pagan deity worshiped by the Canaanites as the God of Fortune for whom they ‘prepare a table’” (Isa. 65:11)
Read what The Anchor Bible Dictionary says about “Gad”: “A Deity (or spirit) of fortune mentioned in Isa. 65:11 as being worshiped, along with Meni (a god of fate or destiny), by apostate Jews, probably in postexilic Judah,” Vol. II, p. 863. Further, this resource tells us, “The place name Baal-gad (Josh. 11:17) could be interpreted as ‘Lord Gad’ or as involving an epithet (gad) joined to the divine name Baal” (Ibid.)
Do you grasp the significance of what you just read? The heathen nations that Joshua was directed to destroy had a place called Baal-gad, which is none other than “Lord-God,” a reference to Isaiah 65:11 and the worship of this “deity” by those who forsake Yahweh! As the Anchor Bible Dictionary affirms: “The apostates of Isa. 65:11 were looking to Gad [God], not Yahweh, as the source of well-being and prosperity” (Vol. II, p. 864).
In Hastings’ A Dictionary of the Bible, we find that the word Gad or God was “originally an appellative” and used as a divine name in pagan worship (see Gad, p. 76).
Lips Speaking Guile
A few who would contest the truth of the sacred Name will counter with an argument like, “You are saying that I need the exact Hebrew pronunciation of the Savior’s Name or I have no salvation. So anyone with a lisp and unable to form the exact Name as in Hebrew is lost.” With this argument they summarily reject the ONLY NAME under heaven given to mankind for salvation by Yahweh Himself. Acts 4:12 says there is only ONE Name by which we are saved. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Rest assured that He Who has created man’s tongue would not give us a Name we cannot pronounce! If a physical disability makes the Name difficult to pronounce, Yahweh would surely look with favor on one’s willingness to do so regardless of the success. Yahweh seeks a ready and compliant heart (2Cor. 9:7); that is what matters. We are to walk joyfully in all truth as Yahweh reveals it to us, growing in grace and knowledge, Ephesians 4:13.
Some may also ask whether those who never knew or called on His saving Name in their lifetimes would be relegated to the lake of fire. The teaching of Scripture is that we are judged by what we know, not by what we don’t know. If we don’t know something is wrong, we must first be taught that it is wrong before we can be held accountable. This is clear from Acts 17:30, in what Paul told the ignorant Athenians who were worshiping idols on Mars Hill:
“And the times of this ignorance Yahweh winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). “Winked at” means overlooked. What constitutes sin for which we are held accountable is when we know the truth but reject it (James 4:17). (See Yahshua’s comment in Matt. 11:21-23.)
His People Will Revere His Name
Posing arguments to circumvent the Name is nothing but a futile attempt to spurn deeper truth. It amounts to sheer rebellion –a stubborn effort to absolve oneself of any responsibility to call upon the one and only revealed, saving Name.
The real test is whether one seeks to follow ALL truth without argument or polemics, and to do so as closely as one is able. As we demonstrate our complete desire to rid our worship of every error, Yahweh sees our dedication and adds His blessings to our obedience.
Yahshua said that the mark of His true Assembly is that it would not reject His true Name. He tells the true Philadelphia Assembly, “I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and HAVE NOT DENIED MY NAME” (Rev. 3:8).
We must revere and call upon His rightful Name with the deepest respect and reverence, because it belongs to our soon-coming King. We may choose to deny His Name now, but we will not DARE deny it as we prostrate ourselves before the King of the universe when He comes in His full, majestic glory and in His royal Name Yahshua!
For those who reject the Name and scorn those who hallow it, Yahweh issues some stern warnings. “Hear the word of Yahweh, you that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for MY NAME’S SAKE, said, Let Yahweh be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed” (Isa. 66:5).
Do YOU Break the Third Commandment?
To those who consider themselves sincere Bible students striving to please our Heavenly Father by keeping His Commandments, the following should prove most interesting. Many verses in the Bible teach that the truly converted who love Yahweh will keep His Commandments dealing with proper worship of the Heavenly Father (Deut. 6:5-6; John 14:15, 21; 1John 2:5; Rev. 22:14).
“For this is the love of Yahweh, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous” (1John 5:3).
Sabbath-keeping groups, especially, strive to keep the Commandments, contending that they properly keep every one of the Ten. But the Third Commandment is the most overlooked or ignored of all the Ten! It is broken virtually every day.
The Third Commandment expressly deals with the holiness of Yahweh’s Name. “You shall not make wrong use of the name of Yahweh your Elohim: for Yahweh will not leave unpunished the man that misuses His name,” TSS. Ridiculing, disregarding, ignoring or denying His Name and using a substitute is certainly the wrong use of His Name, and is breaking the Third Commandment.
Many Called By His Name – Yesterday and Today
The short form “Yah” in the Name “Yahweh” is found in the King James Version in Psalm 68:4, where modern translators mistakenly rendered it “Jah.” As we know by now, the J should by a Y.
The poetic form “YAH” is found as the suffix in many Hebrew names such as IsaYAH, JeremiYAH, ZachariYAH, ZephaniYAH, HezekiYAH, and NehemiYAH. His Name is also found in the prefix of a number of Hebrew names such as YAHchobed (Jochobed, mother of Moses), YAHed (Joed), YAHel (Joel), YAHezer (Joezer), YAHha (Joha), and YAHnadab, (Jonadab). Most of these have also been disguised with the mistaken letter J.
Many of the Psalms command and encourage all to call upon Yahweh’s Name. Notice these examples, taken from The Sacred Scriptures, which instead of the title “L-rd,” has the proper names restored:
“I will give thanks to Yahweh according to His righteousness: and I will sing praise to the NAME of Yahweh most high.” (Psalm 7:17)
“O, Yahweh, our Sovereign, how excellent is your NAME in all the earth. Who have set your glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 8:1)
“O Yahweh, our Sovereign, how excellent is your NAME in all the earth.” (Psalm 8:9)
“I will sing praise to your NAME, O you Most High,” (Psalm 9:2)
“And they that know your NAME will put their trust in you: For you, Yahweh, have not forsaken them that seek you,” (Psalm 9:10)
“Therefore I will give thanks to you, O Yahweh, among the nations and will sing praises to your Name.” (Psalm 18:49)
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will make mention of the NAME of Yahweh our Elohim.” (Psalm 20:7)
“I will declare your NAME to my brethren; in the middle of the assembly I will praise you.” (Psalm 22:22)
“Save me, O Elohim, by your NAME, and judge me in your might.” (Psalm 54:1)
“Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to His NAME: cast a highway for Him that rides through the deserts; His NAME is Yah; and exult before Him.” (Psalm 68:4)
The Psalms are for everyone to read, as both the Savior and the New Testament writers frequently quoted from them. The Psalms are filled with admonitions calling our attention to the importance of Yahweh’s awesome and powerful name. They cannot be ignored.
The title of the Bible book following Deuteronomy properly should be “Yahshua,” not Joshua. It is the same Hebrew name as our Savior Yahshua. The question naturally arises, why do we not find Yahweh’s and Yahshua’s name in our Bibles? Certainly if the sacred Names are that important, then we should find the name of the Heavenly Father and His Son on almost every page. The Bible lays the blame at the feet of the scribes and translators:
“How do you say, we are wise, and the law of Yahweh is with us? But behold, the false pen of the scribes has worked falsely,” Jeremiah 8:8, TSS.
“Which think to cause My people to forget My NAME by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten My NAME for Baal.” (Jeremiah 23:27)
Through ignorance or by design the translators of the Bible were negligent in rendering the Mighty One of the Hebrews as Yahweh (His true Name) and that of His Son Yahshua and not Jesus. The true Name Yahweh was replaced by the common substitutes. (Read our eye-opening ministudy, Discovering the Name Yahshua in the King James Bible.)
Common Questions Asked About the Name
Following are the questions and objections most often rise in regard to the personal Name of the Father and Son. Attempting to answer every objection the human mind may devise could prove an almost endless exercise with those who are just trying to avoid honoring their Creator as He commands us to. But for those with a genuine inquiry, we respond to the following.
Q. “There are no vowels in the Hebrew letters of the sacred Name YHWH, so how can we know how to pronounce it correctly?”
A. If the Hebrew cannot be properly deciphered because of lack of vowels, then our entire Old Testament translation – originally written in a Hebrew script without vowels – is unreliable!
Remarkably, of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, Yahweh preserved His Name with three of the four letters that in the Hebrew ARE used as vowels as well as consonants: yothe (y), hay (h), and waw (w). (The aleph, a, is also used as a vowel.) This fact can be verified in nearly any Hebrew grammar, including: A Beginner’s Handbook to Biblical Hebrew (Horowitz), p. 7 under “Vowel Letters”; The Berlitz Self-Teacher, p. 73 under “The Vanishing Dots”; Hebrew Primer and Grammar (Fagnani and Davidson) p. 10 under “The Quiescents and Mappiq,” and How the Hebrew Language Grew (Horowitz), p. 28. In addition, about the seventh century, Jewish scribes known as Masoretes preserved the pronunciation of the Hebrew with diacritical marks or vowel points added to Hebrew words (Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, p. 699).
Three of these vowel-letters form the Tetragrammaton or Yahweh’s Name, why (the hay is repeated). But we need not rely solely on modern scholarship for this information. We can take the word of an eyewitness! The first century Jewish general, priest, and historian Flavius Josephus (37-100?) writes about the sacred Name engraved on the headpiece of the high priest: “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue riband, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of Yahweh:] it consists of FOUR VOWELS” (Wars of the Jews, Book 5, chapter 5, p. 556).
Q. “Hasn’t the pronunciation of the Name been lost?”
A. It is not unusual for some who reject the Name Yahweh to argue that because of the aversion of the Jews to using the Name or even to uttering it, that the correct pronunciation became lost. This is the same ineffectual argument put forth by those who reject the Sabbath, saying that the Sabbath has been lost so no one knows which day it is.
Would Yahweh command that all men call on His revealed, personal Name – an eternal Name that is His very memorial to all generations (Ex. 3:15), a name that is the only Name giving salvation – and then allow it to vanish in the midst of time?
Just as the Jews were given the sacred trust of preserving Yahweh’s Word and statues (Rom. 3:1-2), keeping and sustaining the Sabbath in its proper weekly sequence down through history, they also have preserved the proper pronunciation of the Name through the Hebrew language. Jewish history says that the priest spoke the sacred Name 10 times annually on the Day of Atonement down through the centuries. A Name so revered would never be lost on the priesthood. Ask most any Jew in Israel today whether “Yahweh” is the true pronunciation and he or she will acknowledge that it is. Scholarship also reveals the proper pronunciation. One does not even need to go beyond a standard encyclopedia for the facts.
The Encyclopedia Biblica tells us, “The controversy as to the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, whether as Yahwe, or Yahawe, Yahwa, or Yahawa...has been gradually brought to an end by the general adoption of the view, first propounded by Ewald, that the true form is Yahwe” (Divine Names, p. 3311).
The eminent Encyclopaedia Judaica confirms this, “The true pronunciation of the name YHWH [Yahweh] was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh,’” Vol. 7, p.680.
This is validated in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Edition: “Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used the form Yahweh, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh.” Vol. X, p. 786.
Other references substantiate proper pronunciation as “Yahweh.” The 15th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 12, p. 995, makes the following comment under the heading “Jehovah”:
“The pronunciation ‘Jehovah’ is an error resulting among Christians from combining the consonants Yhwh (Jhvh) with the vowels of ‘adhonay, ‘Lord,’ which the Jews in reading the Scriptures substituted for the sacred name, commonly called the tetragrammaton as containing four consonants...The Rabbinic tradition that after the death of Simeon the Just (fl.290 B.C.) It was no longer pronounced even on these occasions, is contradicted by the well-attested statement that in the last generation before the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) it was uttered so low that the sounds were lost in the chant of the priest. After that event the liturgical use of the name ceased, but the tradition was perpetuated in the Rabbinic schools; it continued also to be employed by healers, exorcists and magicians, and is found on many magical papyri. It is asserted by Philo that only priests might pronounce it and by Josephus that those who knew it were forbidden to divulge it. Finally the Samaritans shared the scruples of the Jews, except that they used it in judicial oaths....The early Christian scholars therefore easily learnt the true pronunciation.”
Another reference tells us, “The early Christian scholars therefore easily learnt the true pronunciation. Clement of Alexandria (d. 212) gives Iaove or Iaovai (or in one manuscript Iaov), Origen (d. 253-54) ‘Ian, and Epiphanius (d. 404) IaBe (or Iave in one manuscript); Theodoret (d. 457) says that the Samaritans pronounced it IaBe...” (Vol. 12). Samaritan poetry employs the Tetragrammaton and then rhymes it with words having the same sound as Yah-oo-ay (Journal of Biblical Literature, 25, p.50 and Jewish Encyclopedia, vol.9, p.161).
The following authorities also leave no doubt as to the proper and correct pronunciation of Yahweh’s Name:
→ “The pronunciation Yahweh is indicated by transliteration of the name into Greek in early Christian literature, in the form iaoue (Clement of Alexandria) or iabe (Theodoret; by this time Gk. b had the pronunciation of v)...Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only ‘name’ of God. In Genesis wherever the word sem (‘name’) is associated with the divine being that name is Yahweh,” Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, 1979 page 478.
The Latin v spoken of here had the same sound as the English w, sharing a close affinity with the u (Harper’s Latin Dictionary). That is why the w (“double u”) is made up of two v’s. The v was used as a vowel, only later becoming a consonant. It came from the u, which it follows in the alphabet.
→ “It is now held that the original name was IaHUe(H), i.e. Jahve(h, or with the English values of the letters, Yahweh(h, and one or other of these forms is now generally used by writers upon the religion of the Hebrews” (Oxford English Dictionary under “Jehovah”).
→ “The saying of God, ‘I am who I am,’ is surely connected with His name that is written in the Hebrew consonantal text as Yhwh, the original pronunciation of which is well attested as Yahweh” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. 5, page 743).
→“Such a conclusion, giving ‘Yahweh’ as the pronunciation of the name, is confirmed by the testimony of the Fathers and gentile writers, where the forms IAO, Yaho, Yaou, Yahouai, and Yahoue appear. Especially important is the statement of Theodoret in relation to Ex. lvi., when he says: ‘the Samaritans call it [the tetragrammaton] ‘Yabe,’ the Jews call it ‘Aia’...” The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, “Yahweh,” page 471.
→ Writings in Biblical Archaeology Review, Professor Anson F. Rainey, professor of Semitic Linguistics at Tel Aviv University, confirms that “Yahweh” is the correct pronunciation: “I mentioned the evidence from Greek papyri found in Egypt. The best of these is Iaouee (London Papyri, xlvi, 446-483). Clement of Alexandria said, “The mystic name which is called the tetragrammaton...is pronounced Iaoue, which means, “Who is, and who shall be.”’
“The internal evidence from the Hebrew language is equally strong and confirms the accuracy of the Greek transcriptions. Yahweh is from a verbal root developed from the third person pronoun, *huwal *hiya. In Jewish tradition, it is forbidden to pronounce the Sacred Name and its true pronunciation is supposed to remain secret. The fact is that Jewish tridents (who put the vowel points in the Hebrew text) borrowed the vowels from another word, either adonai ‘my lord(s),’ or elohim ‘God.’ They avoided the very short a vowel in this borrowing because it might have led the synagogue reader to make a mistake and pronounce the correct first syllable of the Sacred Name, namely –ya. The vocalized form one finds in the Hebrew Bible is usually Yehowah, from which we get in English the form Jehovah. Yehowa/Jehovah is nothing but an artificial ghost word; it was never used in antiquity. The synagogue reader saw Yehowah in his text and read it adonai” (BAR, Sept.-Oct. 1994).
→ Seventh-day Adventist and Hebrew scholar. Raymond F. Cottrell, writes, “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 translated 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 Old Testament times. This practice is becoming more and more common among Bible scholars and informed Christians,” Review and Herald, Feb. 9, 1967.
Q. “’Yahweh’ is Hebrew but I speak English. Why shouldn’t I use the English ‘God’?”
A. To this we ask, IS “God” English? Hardly. “God” traces back to the Dutch god, to the Germanic gott and back to the Teutonic guth. Names are transliterated, which means the sounds are carried across unchanged into another language. They are not translated into other languages. “But what about similar forms like John, Juan, and Johann? Or Peter and Pedro?” Some may ask. True, different languages have analogous version of certain names, but that does not change the fact that your given name remains the same no matter which country you travel to. (Notice, too, how closely these name versions RESEMBLE reach other, unlike “Yahweh” and the completely dissonant and unrelated “God.”)
Names simply don’t change from language to language. If a foreign head of state visits America, we don’t attempt to come up with an English version or translation for his or her name. For example, in English news reports Boris Yeltsin is still called “Boris Yeltsin.” Hosni Mubarak remains “Hosni Mubarak.” Trying to come up with an English equivalent of names would be an exercise in futility, because there would be none. Furthermore, doing so would change the person’s name and render the new name useless as a means of identification. The same is true of Yahweh’s Name – only one Name, Yahweh, expresses Him and defines who He is. Yahweh and ONLY Yahweh Himself can change His Name, if He so desires. Yet throughout Scripture we find that “Yahweh” is what He Himself demands to be called. “This is my Name forever,” He told Moses in explaining who He was, “and this is my memorial to all generations,” Exodus 3:15.
Israel also thought that any name commonly used in worship was suitable in the worship of Yahweh. What a grievous error! Because “Baal” was so popular with their pagan neighbors, they began to use it in calling on Yahweh. So Yahweh said in His wrath against Israel, “I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts...And I will visit her upon her days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, says Yahweh...And it shall be that day, says Yahweh, that you shall call me Ishi; and shall call me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name” (Hos. 2:11, 13, 16-17).
Q. “He has many names. Wouldn’t all worship go to Him anyway, no matter what name we use?”
A. This is the same logic the pagans used, which went something like this: “He is Bel- Merodach in Babylon, Baalzebub in Philistia, Zeus in Greece, and we Romans will just call Him Jupiter.” Never mind that each name meant a different way of worship. The prophet Micah brings this out in 4:5, revealing the false “walk” expressed by each different name.
“For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of Yahweh our Elohim for ever and ever.” His name is more than a label. It connotes a well- defined, specifically commanded way of worship that belongs only to Him who bears the Name Yahweh.
Saying Yahweh has many names is a misconception stemming from the practice of classifying Yahweh’s personal, revealed Name with generic titles, as if there were no difference. This false belief that He has “many names” traces to the Jews of the Middle Ages. In attempting to conceal the sacred Name, these Jews elevated generic terms and titles to the rank of His personal Name, then used them as substitutes for the Name.
His titles include: El, Eloah (singular, meaning mighty one) and Elohim (plural); These titles are sometimes combined with the other descriptive words: El Elyon (the most high Mighty One); El Shaddai (the all-powerful Mighty One); El Olam (“Mighty One of eternity”); El Dauth (“Mighty One of knowledge”); El Roi (“Mighty One of seeing”).
The New Bible Dictionary maintains, “Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only ‘name’ of God. In Genesis wherever the word sem (‘name’) is associated with the divine being that name is Yahweh...Yahweh, therefore, in contrast with Elohim, is a proper noun, the name of a Person, though that Person is divine,” p. 478. Another reference says of “Yahweh,”: “This is a personal proper name par excellence of Israel’s God...” and “It is the personal name of God, as distinguished from such generic or essential names as ‘El, ‘Elohim, Shadday, etc.” (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, pp. 1254, 1266).
Certain attributes are at times connected with His Name: Yahweh-Yireh (“Yahweh provides”); Yahweh-Nissi (“Yahweh is my banner”); Yahweh-Shalom (“Yahweh Send Peace”); Yahweh- Zidkenu (“Yahweh our Righteousness” – the name by which Yahshua shall be known, Jer. 23:6); Yahweh-Shammah (“Yahweh Is There”); Yahweh-Rapha (“Yahweh Our Healer”); Yahweh- Mekaddishkem (“Yahweh-Elyon (“Yahweh Most High”); Yahweh-Roi (“Yahweh my Shepherd”); Yahweh-Shua (“Yahweh is salvation”).
These adjuncts used with the sacred Name are descriptive designates and must not be confused with His personal Name. Even less, the title “god” cannot possibly contain the meaning that these special titles connote, let alone be used as a personal name for the Majesty of the heavens. “Mr.” is a title, not a name, as is “Sir,” “Dr.”, and “President.” Each defines a person’s standing, position or rank, but does not identify him or her apart from any others within the same title. “There are gods many and lords many,” Paul writes in 1Corinthians 8:5. So which “deity” do we mean when we use “God” and “Lord”? Capitalizing them does not make names of these common terms.
Yahweh inspired the prophet to write, “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8). Yahweh names Himself. This is what He expects to be called. In Exodus 23:13 He warns: “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth.”
Psalm 83:18 tells us He has only one Name: “That men may know that you, whose name ALONE is Yahweh, are the most high over all the earth.”
In the New Testament, Acts 4:12 reads, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is NONE OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Q. “But doesn’t He know who I mean no matter what I call Him?”
A. Suppose your name were Michael. Would you know I meant you if I called out, “Hey, Sam”? Habitually calling you by another name would deeply offend you and cause you to wonder why I stubbornly refused to use your name. Besides, the name Sam signifies someone else entirely. Yahweh also is offended when we refuse to get serious about His Name. He warns in Malachi 2:2, “If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, says Yahweh of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.”
John 4:24 tells us, “Yahweh is Spirit: and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth.” His Name is part of that necessary truth.
It’s clear and simple. Yahweh tells us what His Name is. He commands us to call Him by that Name. We don’t have the option of calling the Mighty One of the entire universe whatever we wish.
We cannot rename Yahweh. Nowhere in the Bible is man given the authority to change His Creator’s Name. Never does the worshiper tell the one he worships how He will be worshiped! Yahweh tells us...we don’t tell Him. To bestow a name is the prerogative of a superior, as when Adam exercised his dominion over the animals by giving them names, or as when a parent names his or her children. It is always the prerogative of the superior to name the inferior, never vice versa.
Mankind was given dominion or stewardship over the earth (Gen. 1:28), and to show his responsibilities, Adam was allowed by Yahweh to name all the creatures (Gen. 2:19-20). Yahweh has control of the earth, heaven and the seas, and man has stewardship only over the creation on earth. We have no authority in heavenly things, such as calling our Creator what we wish.
Yahweh says I am “jealous for my holy Name,” Ezekiel 39:25. We must take those words to heart. If we do, He promises, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Yahweh has said, and in the remnant whom the Yahweh shall call” (Joel 2:32; see Rom. 10:13).
Knowing “who you mean” makes no difference to Him if you refuse to give him the honor and glory He demands. Even IF He knew who you meant, the point is, He COMMANDS His people to call on His revealed, personal, Covenant Name (Ex. 23:13). His Name represents Him and His truths. No other name, title or designation does that. No other title or substitute name reveals Him as the One who will be whatever His people want or need Him to be. That is the essence and meaning of the Name “Yahweh.”
We cannot say we know who He is and claim to worship Him according to that knowledge if we are using titles that miss the mark completely when it comes to identifying, describing, and defining the One we honor. Through the prophet Isaiah He said, “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that does speak: behold it is I” (Isaiah 52:6).
Writing in a Seventh-day Adventist publication, Associate Editor Don F. Neufeld provides this insight: “’Yahweh’ is the name that identifies the God of the Hebrews. Where the Philistines worshiped Dagon, the Egyptians, Amon and the Ammonites, Milcom, the Hebrews worshiped Yahweh...When the voice said, ‘I am Yahweh,’ there was no doubt in any listener’s mind as to the identity of the speaker. He was the god of the Hebrews. So far as it is known, no other peoples called their god by this name” (The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 1971).
If you would honor another human being’s wishes by using his or her personal name, how much more should you revere your Creator’s request by calling on Him by His Name? He’s the only One who can give salvation!
Consider: If names don’t really matter, does it matter to you whether Yahweh has YOURS right when it comes to His Book of Life? Consider what Yahshua says: “He that overcomes, the same shall be clothes in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 3:5, 20:15).
Q. “The sacred Name was not known before Moses, and therefore it was not a salvation Name for those who came before Moses, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This being the case, why is it necessary for us?”
A. This argument stems from a serious misunderstanding of Exodus 6:3: “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them.” As the Companion Bible explains, the word “known” means perceived and understood. “The name [Yahweh] was known as the covenant name; but was not known so as to be understood.” In other words, the patriarchs had not seen a dimension of Yahweh that Moses and those after him would see –they would soon understand fully what His Name meant by the acts of deliverance, sustenance, and love for His people that He was about to perform (Ex. 9:16; Ezek. 20:5, Amos 3:2). He would become whatever His people needed of Him, which is the intrinsic meaning of the Name Yahweh.
The following verses reveal the error of this argument and show that Yahweh’s Name was indeed known by the patriarchs and used before Moses:
►Eve called on His Name – Genesis 4:1
► Abraham called on the Name Yahweh – Genesis 12:8; 14:22; 15:2, 7; 21:33; 24:3;
► Abimelech used Yahweh’s Name – Genesis 20:4
► Isaac called upon Yahweh’s Name – Genesis 26:25
► Yahweh revealed His Name to Jacob – Genesis 28:13
► Anciently men “began to call on the Name Yahweh” – Genesis 4:26
Q. “Hanging on the torture stake, our Savior cried out to Yahweh, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,’ that is to say, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46). If He could use this title, what’s the problem if I use ‘God,’ too?”
A. By quoting Psalm 22:1 here, Yahshua was fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 22:22, showing that He was the promised Messiah. It also demonstrates that our Savior spoke Hebrew, or the Aramaic dialect of Hebrew. The Savior was NOT calling His Father “My God” – an appellation from a completely different language – but “My El,” which in Hebrew means “Mighty One” or “Powerful One” (the yod or “i” on the end of El means “my”). It is one of the titles referring to Yahweh, but is not a substitute name. Yahshua also once in prayer called Him by the Hebrew abba, meaning father, Mark 14:36. But neither is abba a name.
Any time a title becomes so dominant that it is used as a replacement for the sacred Name, that designation expunges the only Name whereby we are saved, regardless as to whether that title has had a previously acceptable association with Him.
Churchianity uses the titles “God” and “Lord” in the same way Israel used “Baal” (see Jer. 23:26-27, where Yahweh says, “their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal”). These titles have become total, exclusive substitutes that are historically associated with pagan images (review the subheading, “Ancient Roots of ‘God’ and ‘Lord,’).
Q. “Where is there any record that Yahshua ever spoke or taught His Father’s Name Yahweh, or that the Name is in the New Testament?”
A. In His prayer to Yahweh, Yahshua in John 17:26 specifically said that He had “declared unto them [the world] your name, and will declare it.” If He declared it then He spoke it.
Even though it may be somewhat hidden in our English text, we find ample examples where Yahshua called on His Father’s Name Yahweh and taught it as well. In Matthew 6:9, Yahshua opened His Model Prayer with the affirmation of the holiness of Yahweh’s Name: “Hallowed be Thy Name.” Yahweh’s Name is the only Name that is called holy in Scripture. Man’s names are not. (Thus, it is unnecessary to change other Biblical names to their Hebrew originals.)
Yahshua recognized Yahweh’s Name as sanctified, and even said He would proclaim it: “I will declare Your Name unto my brethren, in the midst of the Assembly will I sing praises unto you,” Hebrew 2:12.
In the many passages where our Savior quoted the Old Testament, He of necessity would use Yahweh’s Name. For instance, Luke 4:4, where He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3: “And Yahshua answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of Yahweh.”
Many other examples could be shown where Yahweh’s Name appears in the Old Testament text and where Yahshua quotes these same passages word for word. A few of these include: Matthew 4:10 (from Deut. 6:13); Matthew 21:42 (from Psalm 118:23); Mark 7:6 (from Isa. 29:13); Luke 20:37 (from Ex. 3:4-6) and John 6:45 (from Isa. 54:13). (For much more on this subject, read our ministudy, Our Savior Spoke the Sacred Name.)
In the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, professor George Howard details the Hebrew text of the 14th century Jew, Sem-Tob ben-Isaac ben-Shaprut. Howard describes how the sacred Name occurs 19 times in the work, mostly where Kurios and Theos appear in the Greek, but in three places where no correspondent Greek word appears. Howard observes that the Shem-Tob Matthew cannot be a translation of a Greek text, as “no pious Jew of the Middle Ages would have dignified a Christian text by inserting the Divine Name.”
Howard adds, “The conclusion that seems inescapable is that Shem-Tob found the Divine Name already in his [Hebrew] gospel text, having received it from an earlier generation of Jewish tradents. He permitted the Divine Name to remain in the text perhaps because he was unsure himself about what to do with it,” pp. 230-231.
Q. “If it is so important, why isn’t there evidence of the Name outside of the Hebrew Scriptures?”
A. Yahweh gave His Name to the Hebrew peoples because they were His chosen. Those who would take hold of the promises given first to Abraham are grafted in to the trunk of Israel, as Romans 9 and 11 explain. Naturally we would find His Name most prominent among the Israelites and their Scriptures and records. But there indeed are other places where the Name Yahweh has been found.
As we have shown, the Tetragrammaton was discovered on the Moabite stone in 1868, erected by Moabite King Mesha in 900 B.C.E. (p. 25).
Also found in the 1930’s were a number of pottery fragments on which were written personal letters at the time of the Babylonian conquest of Judah (597-587 B.C.E.). Known as the Lachish Letters, one letter is to the commander of a garrison at Lachish, where the writer sends a greeting in “the name of Yahweh.” The fragments also contain about 20 proper names, most compounded with the name of Yahweh (The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, p. 594).
Surprisingly, extra-Biblical evidence for the Name is mounting even on this continent. Indications are that a connection existed between Native Americans and the Semitic peoples of the Middle East.
In Adair’s History of the American Indians, Frenchman James Adair in 1775 detailed many similarities in language, organization, and custom that the Indians of the southeast U.S. share with ancient Israelites. Having spent time among them, he noted that the Indians “frequently sing Hallelu-Yah Yo He Wah,” p. 32. He wrote on page 37, “The American Indians are so far from being Atheists, as some godless Europeans have flattered themselves, to excuse their own infidelity, that they have the great sacred name of God, that describes his divine essence, and by which he manifested himself to Moses...” On page 48 Adair continued, “They have another appellative, which with them is the mysterious, essential name of God – the Tetragrammaton, or great four-lettered name – which they never mention in common speech...” He also noted, “...the American Indians...say YAH at the beginning of their religious dances...” p. 50.
Writing in The Ancient American (March-April 1994), David Allen Deal discusses artifacts discovered between 1874 and 1920 in the state of Michigan. The artifacts bear Egyptians motifs and hieroglyphics, Deal observes. Mostly religious in nature, they contain drawings of the Genesis Creation, Garden of Eden, Noah’s flood and New Testament themes. He notes that three letters in a previously unknown cuneiform style are found on nearly every piece. He writes, “I felt the letters had to stand for the name YHW,” which he notes represents the sacred Name Yahweh. In his book, Discovery of Ancient America, Deal also writes about paleo-Hebrew Tetragrammaton discovered in New Mexico and Tennessee.
Q. “Yahweh confused all the languages at the Tower of Babel, and because Hebrew was extant at that time, how can we be sure that the original pronunciation of Yahweh’s Name wasn’t changed?”
A. Both Shem and Noah spoke the language of Adam and Eve. We have no evidence that this language was anything other than Hebrew, the language of the oldest Biblical manuscripts. (Shem was the great-grandfather of Eber, from whom we get the name “Hebrew.” He naturally would speak the same language as his great-grandson. Eber was the great-great-great-great- grandfather of Abraham.) Certainly neither of these righteous men had anything to do with building a pagan Tower of Babel. Not having been there and involved in this rebellion, their Hebrew language would not have been affected by the confounding of languages at Babel. We can trace the lineage of the patriarchs and see how their Hebrew language continued from the beginning.
Abraham lived to see his grandchild Jacob (Israel). Abraham was alive in the days of Shem, who was born before the flood. Obviously Abraham would have spoken the same language that his family line used before and after the flood: pure Hebrew.
Q. “Doesn’t Psalm 138:2 say His Word is magnified above His Name?”
A. In the King James this passage reads, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Other versions render this verse differently: “I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy Word” – Revised Standard Version.
”I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your Name and your Word” – The New International Bible.
“I prostrate myself toward thy holy temple; and give thanks to thy name for thy kindness and thy faithfulness; for thou hast magnified thy name over all” –Smith and Goodspeed.
“I will bow down toward thy holy temple, and give thanks to Thy name for Thy loving kindness and Thy truth; For Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name” – New American Standard.
None of these translations tells us that His Word is to be exalted over His Name. His Name gives weight to His Word and cannot be separated from it.
Had the translators added the right punctuation, because the Hebrew has none, the verse could just as easily have been rendered: “For You have magnified Your word, above all, Your Name.” This would give the passage the same meaning as is found in the New American Standard and Smith and Goodspeed versions, where His Name is the foundation for all other truth.
Q. “You spell the Heavenly Father’s Name ‘Yahweh,’ but I have also seen it spelled ‘Yahowah’ or ‘Yahuweh.’ Why is this?”
A. The Cairo Geneze, by Paul Kahle, published in London says, “Not before 1100 was an o added to the word hwhy and this seems to indicate the pronunciation [Adonay]” (The Translations of the Bible, chapter 3, pp. 172-173, footnote 4).
It was a vowel sign for the letter o that was put in the middle of the Tetragrammaton. This led to the erroneous “Jehovah.” The Lexicon for the Books of the Old Testament says: “The wrong spelling Jehovah occurs since about 1100.” It then offers arguments in favor of Yahweh as “the correct and original pronunciation” (Koehler and Baumgartner, 1951 ed., vol. 1, p. 369, col. 1).
Because early Christians were not Hebrew scholars, they did not understand that the Tetragrammaton was pointed with the vowels for AdOnAY. Scholars maintain that the letter o or u is a vestige of this Rabbinical practice.
This technique was popular where the name why formed the beginning of a personal name, for example ucwhy (Yahshua), which was altered to Yehoshua by vowel pointing through the diacritical marks above and below the Hebrew letters (see subheading “How Did ‘Yahshua’ Become ‘Jesus?’” and read our ministudy, Spelling the Sacred Name: V or W?)
Q. “Doing or asking in Yahweh’s name merely means ‘by His authority.’ How can you say it means pronouncing a Hebrew Name?”
A. Attempting to sever Yahweh from His very being, nature, personality, and essence through calling on another name is nothing more than a feeble attempt to quiet one’s conscience about the importance of His revealed, personal Name. It is true to do something “in a name” can mean by the authority of that individual. But in the Bible it means so very much more.
What such reasoning cannot get around is the fact that Yahweh’s Name is definitive – it expresses the character and very personality of the Creator and Sustainer who bears it. His Name is nothing less than an extension of His being. It expresses His quintessence. Yahweh’s Name is composed of the very verb of existence – haYa. His Name is alive and active. It means He will be whatever His people need of Him. To call on a dead, generic term expecting the same results as calling on His dynamic Name is an insult, once we know that He has a personal, vigorous, life-giving, healing, and Covenant Name that embodies salvation itself to those who call on Him.
‘My People Shall Know My Name’
No other Name can reveal the true Heavenly Father, and the truth of who He is, as His personal Name Yahweh does. This singular truth alone renders all arguments for using substitutes null and void.
Consider these passages that testify to the necessity of the sacred Name:
> Salvation is strictly in Yahweh’s Name and in His Name alone.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts. 4:12). “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered...” (Joel 2:32) “The name of
Yahweh is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe” (Prov. 18:10)
> We are commanded to call on Him in His Name when we pray or praise Him:
“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Yahweh’s Name is to be praised”
> Those who revere and call on His Name are special to Yahweh:
“Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known my name” (Ps. 91:14). “Then they that feared Yahweh spoken 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. And they shall be mine, says Yahweh of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him” (Mal. 3:16-17).
> The saints will gather in His Name:
“And I will strengthen them in Yahweh: and they shall walk up and down in his name, says
Yahweh” (Zech. 10:12). “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, Yahweh is my Elohim” (Zech. 13:9).
> His people have not denied His Name:
“I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). “I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan’s seat is: and you hold fast my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells” (Rev. 2:13).
> His people and His future city shall know and be called by His personal, revealed Name Yahweh:
“Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that does speak: behold, it is I” (Isa. 52:6). “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” (Dan. 9:19). “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2Chron. 7:14). “That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, says Yahweh that does this” (Amos 9:12). “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isa. 43:7). “Why should you be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? Yet you, O YAHWEH in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; leave us not” (Jer. 14:9). “Your words were found, and I did eat them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by your name, O YAHWEH Elohim of hosts” (Jer. 15:16).
> The very Elect will be sealed in His Name:
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1). “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev. 22:4).
> His Name will be a test of our obedience:
“Pour out your fury upon the heathen that know you not, and upon the families that call not on your name...” (Jer. 10:25; Rev. 13:17 with 14:1).
> His Name is the focus of those who rebel against Yahweh:
“A son honours his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? And I be a master, where is my fear? Says Yahweh of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, wherein have we despised thy name?” (Malachi 1:6) “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against Yahweh, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Rev. 13:6). “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of Yahweh, which has power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory” (Rev. 16:9).
> Punishment awaits those who refuse and shun His Name and His worship:
“But cursed be the deceiver, which has in his flock a male, and vows, and sacrifices unto Yahweh a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, says Yahweh of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen” (Mal. 1:14). “Pour out your wrath upon the heathen that have not known you, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your name” (Ps. 79:6). “Pour out your fury upon that heathen that know you not, and upon the families that call not on your name...” (Jer. 10:25). “He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of Yahweh” (John 3:18). “And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward unto your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18).
His Name Offers Protection, Salvation
The saving nature of Yahweh’s Name will be dramatically demonstrated when the age-ending plagues are unleashed on this world. Just as the four angels standing at the four corners of the earth are about to release their devastation, John in Revelation 7 notices another angel intervening. That angel issues a specific command to the four others: “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our Elohim in their foreheads” (verse 3).
Just how are Yahweh’s servants “sealed”? We find that answer in Revelation 14:1: “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s NAME written in their foreheads.”
His Name is an identifying mark and offers protection against the impending calamity from a wrathful Yahweh that will devastate this earth. How can He punish those who have His Name in their minds and hearts? In the ninth chapter we witness what happens to those without the protection of His Name: “And it was commanded them [locusts] that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of Elohim in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he strikes a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them” (Rev. 9:4-6).
Again, notice what exactly it is that Yahweh’s people, then saved and living in the Kingdom at New Jerusalem, have sealed in their foreheads: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his Name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev. 22:3-4).
Imagine the shame of rebelling against His Name today, only to have it in one’s forehead in the Kingdom! This gives us serious doubts as to whether someone who deliberately rejects His Name will even BE in the Kingdom.
The prophet Ezekiel foretold what Yahweh would do in the Kingdom.
“So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel” (39:7).
Join those who call upon Yahweh’s Name. The Book of Acts may yet have the final chapter, 29, written some day, and we hope you will join us in prayer that our names will be in that register book of Yahweh’s people and will not be blotted out!
His Name Is the Foundation for All Truth
Now that we have seen that Yahweh’s Name is basic to the truth of the Scriptures, we can also realize how it forms the foundation of True Worship, which shapes the spiritual temple.
When Yahweh says His people will know His Name, He means that through His revealed Name that He Himself is revealed. By telling His people His Name and then saving them, He manifests His innermost character and very nature. As the Concise Bible Handbook says, “’To know’ in the Old Testament goes beyond the mere possession of information, to the active enjoyment of fellowship with the person known,” p. 54. He is our Heavenly FATHER. We worship Him in an intimacy that no other name or title can possibly express. His Name binds His people in a Covenant relationship.
For the past 2,000 years churchianity has been constructing another building, which rests upon another cornerstone cut from a quarry of Greco-Roman teachings. These beliefs are cemented with paganistic practices, humanistic philosophies, Hellenistic and Latin customs, and include a Savior bearing a Latinized Greek name. This spiritual building does not rest upon the foundation of the true Redeemer of Israel. Our Bible is HEBREW, not Greek or Roman.
Scripture clearly reveals that salvation is available only in “the Stone which the builders have rejected,” Acts 4:12. That same verse also states, “There is no other Name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” NIV. Verse one reveals that those being spoken to were the priests and Sadducees, and Hebrew was the language of the Temple.
His Name is to be carried to all people as we follow Paul’s example: “But Yahshua said unto him, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Yahweh promises that His Name shall be great among the gentiles. All the world will honor and offer prayers to His Name, Malachi 1:11:
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, says Yahweh of hosts.”
The last message to be given before the return of the Savior is the proclamation of Yahweh’s Name in the power and spirit of EliYAH: “Behold, I will send you EliYAH the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YAHWEH: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:5-6).
We are to believe in the Name, John 3:13, 1John 3:23. We are kept in His Name, John 17:11, Proverbs 18:10. We are justified in His Name, 1Corinthians 6:11. His Name dwells among us, Deuteronomy 12:5, 2Samuel 7:13. His Name influences and controls us in behavior and worship, Leviticus 18:21; Romans 15. Full worship is to be where Yahweh chose to place His Name, Deuteronomy 12:11. And one day ALL nations shall revere and call upon His Name, Revelation 15:4.
Turn back to the truth first given to the patriarchs, and come to KNOW your Heavenly Father by calling on His personal, revealed Name Yahweh.
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