"The God Who Is There" Series
The Name of God
Making Known the Unknown Name hwhy
By David M Rogers
Second Edition: February 2010
Table of Contents
What is God's name? If you survey any gathering of "Bible believing" Christians, you will get many different answers. Most will tell you his name is "the LORD." Others may say, "Jehovah." Still another - "Jesus." And if you ask the Orthodox Rabbis, they will tell you "HaShem" or "Adonai." The studious ones might respond, "God has many different names." Can all of these responses be right?
Why is there so much confusion about the most important name in the cosmos? Can anyone really know what is the name of the Creator of the universe? Yes, we can know the personal name of the Creator Elohim ("God"). In fact, Elohim wants us to know his name, and he has revealed it to us in the Hebrew Scriptures. So why don't the people who claim to know Elohim understand what his name is? Is the Bible so ambiguous about the name of the Creator that those people who read and cherish the Bible don't even know what the Scriptures say about Elohim's name? Not really. The Scriptures are not ambiguous at all. On the contrary, the Bible is crystal clear about identifying the name of the Creator Elohim.
Sadly, "Bible-believing" Christians simply don't know what the Bible says about Elohim's name. Blinders have been placed over our eyes. We have been duped into hiding His name. We have been fooled into diminishing His name by not knowing it and by not pronouncing it We have been tricked by the enemy of our souls into thinking that Elohim does not want to be known by or called by his own name. We have been hoodwinked into believing that it does not matter that Elohim has a personal name - that we can call him by whatever designation we choose.
What difference does it make, anyway? Why should we make a big deal about Elohim's name. Isn't that just a little bit fanatical? After all, only fringe groups, fanatics and cult extremists make an issue of the actual name and pronunciation of the name of Almighty Elohim! Right? Not really. Isn't it true that each one of us does make a fuss and a big deal about our own name? Each of us wants to be called by and known by our own personal names (or nicknames).
One of the first things we tell one another during introductions is my name. In fact, I am mildly put off when someone whom I think ought to know my name either doesn't know or has forgotten my name. It is usually easy to tell if someone doesn't know your name or has forgotten your name. And to forget someone's name or to ignore one's name is tantamount to suggesting that that person is not significant enough to bother to know.
We notice these things instinctively. When someone has forgotten my name or has not made an effort to find out my name, I conclude that the other person does not care to know me. I'm thinking, 'that person probably does not like me and is diminishing my value as a human being.' To forget someone's name is a subtle attack on that person's worth! It is a put down!
Why is my name such a big deal to me? And why is that true for every one of us? Perhaps because my name identifies who I am. It is a word representation of my personhood. My name is a representation of all that is me. Therefore, to know me is, first of all, to know my name. How can anyone know me and not know my name, the designation by which I am called? Obviously, the beginning of getting to know someone is to know what that person's name is.
A person's name has associated with it everything about the person and uniquely identifies that person. To say "Ronald Reagan" is to bring to the reader's (or listener's) mind a specific person with personality, appearance, reputation, accomplishments and more. And to think of any other name is to do the same - to bring to mind all of the characteristics and personality of the person so named.
Since a name is all of this, isn't it plain to see that a personal name is very important? If we claim to know a specific someone, but we don't know that person's name, our claim is ludicrous. For to know someone, is first of all, to know that person's name.
Since this is true of humans and angels, doesn't it seem reasonable and logical that this would apply to Elohim, also? After all, he is the one "from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Ephesians 3:15). Elohim has given each of us a unique name by which were are called. And he commanded Adam in the garden to give unique names to all the animals which were created. Doesn't it make sense that the Creator Himself has a unique personal name by which He is called? Well, he does.
The word mv, (shem) in the Hebrew language, which is the language of the Old Testament Scriptures, is translated by the English word, name. The word mv, (shem) means "name, fame, renown, reputation, memorial." It is used in the Old Testament to refer to the personal name of individuals. We are told, for example, that Adam gave names to every living creature:
Out of the ground the LORD Elohim formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name (mv, shem). So Adam gave names (mv, shem) to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him (Genesis 2:19,20).
Adam also named his wife:
And Adam called his wife's name (mv, shem) Eve, because she was the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20).
This same word is used to refer to the personal name of many people in the Bible:
Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah (Genesis 4:19).
And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh (in the Hebrew, "and he called his name (mv, shem) 'Enosh.'" Then men began to call on the name (mv, shem) of the LORD (hwhy Yahuwah).
And he called his name (mv, shem) Noah, saying, "This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD (hwhy Yahuwah) has cursed" (Genesis 5:29).
To Eber were born two sons: the name (mv, shem) of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother's name (mv, shem) was Joktan (Genesis 10:25).
These are only a few of the texts in the first ten chapters of Genesis in which we find the word "name." Obviously, we could fill many pages with texts like the above in which the Hebrew word (mv, shem) is a reference to the personal name of an individual.
Let's take a look at the Scriptures to find out what name (mv, shem) Elohim calls himself. At that time when Elohim was calling Mosheh to take His message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, Mosheh was concerned that the Israelites would not believe him if he told the people that the living Elohim had sent him with his message. So Mosheh felt he needed some way of authenticating, for them, Elohim's message to them.
And Elohim said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship Elohim on this mountain." Mosheh said to Elohim, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his mv, (shem, "name")?' Then what shall I tell them?" Elohim said to Mosheh, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Elohim also said to Mosheh, "Say to the Israelites, ( hwhy ) The LORD , the Elohim of your fathers-- the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac and the Elohim of Jacob-- has sent me to you.' This is my mv, (shem "name") forever, the mv, (shem, "name") by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation." (Exodus 3:12-15 NIV)
The words in red above, "The LORD" are actually the words used in most English Bible translations to render the Hebrew word hwhy which is transliterated, "YHWH," and is pronounced "Yahuwah" or maybe "Yehovah." This is the personal, unique name of Elohim! This is the name by which Elohim is known. This is the name which Mosheh was to use to refer to the Elohim in heaven. But not just Mosheh. This is the personal name which all men are to use when calling upon Elohim. It is, as Elohim Himself said, "my mv, (shem, "name") forever, the mv, (shem, "name") by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation." That means that Elohim is to forever be remembered by this name. That means Christian believers of the 21st century are to remember and call upon the Creator by this name!
Elohim has thus revealed to us his own unique personal mv, (shem, "name")! His mv, (shem, "name") is hwhy.
There are many in the Hebraic Roots world who insist that nobody knows for sure how to pronounce the name of Elohim. Many Jews, both Rabbinic and others, believe the pronunciation of the Name is known, but for other reasons (which we will discuss later), they won't use the Name in speech. There are many reasons why some have decided NOT to attempt to pronounce the Name, but use instead the substitution designations for the Almighty. They address and refer to the Father in heaven by designations such as "the LORD" or "HaShem" (which in Hebrew means "the Name") or "Adonai" (Hebrew for "the Master").
The truth told is that there is a knowledge of the name of Elohim in the Scriptures. He didn't inject his name nearly 7000 times in the TaNaCh (that's how many times hwhy occurs in the Old Testament Hebrew text) to just tease us and not to help us to know how to pronounce and use His name. It's probably quite evident now that I am one who is in favor of calling upon the Father by vocalizing his Name.
Among those who wish to honor the Almighty by vocalizing the Name, there are several different ways that his name has been pronounced. The more common ways his name has been spoken include: "Yahweh," "Yehoveh," "Yehovah," "Yahovah," "Jehovah," "Yahuweh," and finally, "Yahuwah." These are all honest attempts to correctly say the name of Elohim. Perhaps these differences are tantamount to regional variations of accents. I would not get in to fisticuffs with anyone who pronounces the Name differently than I do. I think the important thing is that we call upon him by his name and not resort to using other names or substitutions because of some superstition about the dangers of mispronouncing his name.
For those who think the Name and its vowel pointing in the Masoretic Hebrew Text (MT) has not been tampered with - there are several different pointings, indicating a high likelihood that the Rabbis DID tamper with the vowel pointing! There are 6 different vowel pointings used for the Name in the MT. They are:
1. The most common occurrence in the Hebrew Bible is the pointing hw"hy> (Yehvah) which occurs 5658 times in the MT. Nearly everyone agrees that this articulation is impossible because of the rules of grammar and common sense.
2. The vowel pointing hA'hy> (Yehovah) occurs 44 times in the MT, i.e. in Bereshith 3:14 and 9:26 and Shemot 3:2 and others, and this vowel configuration is thought by most Jews to be the correct pointing.
3. hwIhy/ (Yehvih) occurs twice at Genesis 15:2,8.
4. hwIhy> (Yehvih) occurs 271 times.
5. But you also find hAihy/ (Yehovih) which occurs once at Judges 16:28, and
6. hAihy> (Yehovih) which occurs 31 times - Ezekiel 8:1; 12:10 and others.
Because of these significant differences, the theory that the Rabbis intentionally altered the vowel pointing on the Name is highly likely. Which of these, if any, is the correct pointing?
There are good reasons for vocalizing the Name of Elohim as "Yehovah." This vocalization has long been adopted by Karaite Jews, who have a long history of expertise in the Hebrew Scriptures. Also, many Messianic Jews and Christians who live in Israel and who live in the Exile pronounce the set apart Name as "Yehovah." This vocalization has several things which commend it for strong consideration.
First, the vowel points given the name in the Masoretic Hebrew text centuries ago seems to favor this pronunciation. The pointing which has by far the most occurrences is hw"hy> (Yehvah). This pointing is just one vowel point short of being vocalized "Yehovah." The vowel pointing hA'hy> (Yehovah) also has a significant number of occurrences. And two other vowel pointings, hAihy/ (Yehovih) and hAihy> (Yehovih) have the long "o" vowel sound which is missing in hw"hy> (Yehvah). And all of the pointings of this name in the MT begin with "Yeh."
Second, the rules of Hebrew grammar tend to shorten the first syllable in a longer name ("Yeh" instead of "Yah"). Nearly all Hebrew names which begin with the hy (yohd hey) are pronounced "Yeh...." Some of those include "Yehoshua," "Yehoiada," "Yehudah," "Yehu." And there are many more. By contrast, the vocalization "Yah" as the first part of the Name is not attested to in the Hebrew MT as an option for the full name hwhy.
The articulation Yehovah is consistent with other Hebrew names as pronounced and carried down through the MT Hebrew text. It's hard to argue against the pronunciation accepted almost unanimously by the Hebrew speaking people. However, there are at least two reasons why we may doubt that Yehovah is the correct way to say the Name of the Almighty.
First, as we have already pointed out, the premise of those who pronounce the Name "Yehovah" is that the manuscript evidence has greater weight when deciding which articulation is correct. But I think that premise may be off the mark. Since the writing of some of the earliest writings of Scripture, some 2500 years went by before the Rabbis put vowel points to the Hebrew manuscripts. Thus, we have no way of knowing that the Rabbis actually used the correct vowel points. It is difficult to put any trust in the Pharisees, Scribes and Rabbis throughout the centuries when we consider their blatant attempt to hide the correct pronunciation of the Name of Elohim. In their view, merely vocalizing the Name correctly is worthy of the death penalty! (see more below) So, whether some manuscript has the correct vowel pointing or not cannot be known by us with any certainty.
Second, the third letter in the Name hwhy seems to deliver two distinct sounds. When you strip away the Rabbinic vowel points, you are left with four letters. These four letters are the true Name. Each of these letters should have a single sound. The first letter is pronounced as a "y." The second letter as an "h." Putting those together, you get "yeh" or "yah."
The third letter, vav, is either an "o" sound, a "u" sound or a "v" sound or "w" sound. We know that the vowel less Hebrew language contains letters that are both consonants and vowels. The heh, the vav and the yohd are three such consonant\vowels. So, the vav in hwhy is a consonant/vowel. It contains the sound for proper pronunciation. So, that one letter cannot be both an "o" sound and a "v" sound at the same time as is suggested in the vocalization Yehovah. The "ov" seems to come from this one letter! This cannot be. Without vowel points, the Name pronounced Yehovah should be spelled hwwhy. However, the vocalization Yahuwah does not have this problem. The uw in Yahuwah is a single sound corresponding to the single letter w.
Accordingly, there are also some very good reasons for the vocalization of Yahuwah which many Messianics have been convinced by. Those reasons follow. Since it appears highly likely that the Rabbis tampered with the vowel pointing, we must throw out the pointing as it occurs in the MT and try to reconstruct the vocalization using other evidence. We begin this task by taking note that the name hwhy in the Hebrew is made up of 4 letters - which may be transliterated as yohd, hey, vav, hey. These four letters are consonants but also bring with them vowel sounds. These are pronounced as follows: Yohd = "ee" as in week OR "y" as in yard. Hey = "ah" as in Bach. Vav = "oo" as in food. Hey = "ah" as in bah OR "ay" as in bay.
Thus, if we put together these sounds, we arrive at "ee ah oo ah" or "y ah oo ah." But when we say words, the sound of the word does not equal the sound of each of the letters, one right after the other. If so, my name would sound like "d-ay-v-i-d." When we say words we blend and combine the sounds of the letters and it usually does not sound like we are pronouncing each letter. Taking "ee ah oo ah," this blends into the sounds "yah" "oo-ah." And finally, "Yahuwah."
Taking a different approach to reconstructing the vocalization of the Name, consider the following: In Tehillim (Psalms) 150, the expression, Hallelu Yah is used a number of times. The Hebrew reads, Hy" Wll.h; Note that "hallelu" means "(you) praise." It is an imperative and is a call to praise: "you all, praise...." The "yah" part of the expression is the abbreviated, poetic form of the name hwhy . The vowel sound between the yohd and the hey is the "a" sound, pronounced ah. This expression is never pronounced hallelu-yeh, but all agree that it is vocalized as hallelu-yah.
Also, grammatically speaking, it is significant that the letter hey has a dot in the middle of it. This is called a mappiq. It's purpose is to let the reader know that this letter is not to be cut off or silenced. The letter is to have a full sharp pronunciation. The expression should be pronounced, hallelu Yah with a full "h" sound as in a sharp exhale of air from the mouth.
It would be strange indeed given that the known correct verbalization of the poetic short form of the Name is "Yah" if the full name of Elohim were not pronounced beginning with "Yah." You would expect that since "Yah" is the shortened form that "Yah" would occur somewhere in the full name. Thus, it makes good sense that Yah is the correct pronunciation of the first part of the full name.
This pronunciation "Yahu" is testified to in names that use these first 3 letters of the 4 letter name of Elohim. Jeremiah the prophet's name, in Hebrew, utilizes the first three letters of the name hwhy. Jeremiah's name in Hebrew is Why"ßm.r>yI (pronounced, "Yirmyahu"). Here, "yahu" is the correct vocalization of Jeremiah's name and this suggests that it is also the correct pronunciation of the first three letters of the name of Elohim.
The names of Isaiah and Elijah, in Hebrew, also are pronounced the same way: Why"[.v;y> (pronounced "Yesha’yahu") and WhY"liae "(pronounced "Eliyahu") testify to the vocalization of Yahu. So, all three of these well known names substantiate that Yahu is the correct pronunciation of the first three letters of God's Name.
But there are more names ending with Yahu in the Hebrew text. To name a few: Benayahu (Benaiah, 2 Sam 8:18), Adoniyahu (Adonijah, 1 Kings 1:8), Azaryahu (Azariah, 1 Kings 4:2), Yoshiyahu (Josiah, 1 Kings 13:2), Ovadyahu (Obadiah, 1 Kings 18:3), Tsidkiyahu (Zedekiah, 1 Kings 22:24), Achazyahu (Ahaziah, 1 Kings 22:51). All of these names, and even more not listed, in the Hebrew text have Yahu as the ending of these names. All attest to the correctness of pronouncing the first three letters of God's name as Yahu.
And we might add this question: If Yeho is the correct vocalization of the first part of the Name, then why do so many names have Yahu in them instead. Certainly the names Yah and Yahu testify strongly to the real and proper way to pronounce the Name.
Then, to finish the pronunciation, we merely add the final hey. The letter h prefers the "ah" sound before it and after it. The letter itself is pronounced "h" or "ah." So, Yahu (Yahuw) plus ah equals Yahuwah.
On a personal note, I have been persuaded and have been pronouncing Elohim's name as Yahuwah for about eight years now. On balance, I still prefer Yahuwah as the correct way to say His Name. Yet, I often pronounce the Name as Yehovah wherever it is accepted. I do not want my personal opinion to get in the way of honoring His Name. Though others may have intellectual or textual reasons for pronouncing the name of Elohim differently than I have shown here, let's not quarrel or break fellowship over the exact articulation of the Name. The important point is that we recognize that Elohim has a name and that he wants us to call upon Him by that Name.
The Meaning of the Name hwhy
Now let's take a moment to investigate the actual meaning of the Name hwhy. We know that Hebrew names were often given that pointed to a particular circumstance of the birth, a characteristic of the baby born, or with an expectancy of a particular outcome in the child's life. Avram was renamed Avraham because he was to be the father of many nations. Mosheh was so named because he was "drawn out" of the water. And on and on the list could go.
The Name hwhy also has a significant meaning. From the Hebrew root hyh (haya), the BDB lists these meanings: fall out, come to pass, become, be. It is the to be verb. Though the precise form of the verb making the name is still debated, Exodus 3:14 gives us the sense of the meaning of hwhy.
Elohim said to Mosheh, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Elohim also said to Mosheh, "Say to the Israelites, ( hwhy ) The LORD , the Elohim of your fathers-- the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac and the Elohim of Jacob-- has sent me to you.
Elohim uses the first person singular form of the Qal imperfect to express the thought I am. Thus, hwhy seems to correspond to that form, and may best be translated as "Being," or "the One who is."
Others have translated the Name as The Eternal One, or The Living One. In the book of Revelation, John uses the designation, "the one who was, the one who is and the one coming" as an expression of His Name, because this is essentially the meaning of His Name.
hwhy is the only personal mv, (shem, "name") of Elohim. All other words used to refer to Him are either titles or descriptions of Him. But hwhy (Yahuwah) is different. hwhy (Yahuwah) is His personal mv, (shem, "name"). This point is emphasized over and over again in the Bible. Elohim says through the prophet Yeshayahu,
I am hwhy (Yahuwah)*, that is My mv, (shem, "name"); And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images (Isaiah 42:8).
I am hwhy (Yahuwah)*, and there is no other; There is no Elohim besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am hwhy (Yahuwah)*, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, hwhy (Yahuwah)*, do all these things' (Isaiah 45:5-7).
Yirmyahu also records his name:
Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My mv, (shem, "name") is hwhy (Yahuwah)* (Jeremiah 16:20,21).
Moreover the word of hwhy (Yahuwah)* came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, "Thus says hwhy (Yahuwah)* who made it, hwhy (Yahuwah)* who formed it to establish it. hwhy [Yahuwah]* is His mv, (shem, "name"): 'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know' (Jeremiah 33:1-3).
Thus says hwhy (Yahuwah)* of hosts: "The children of Israel were oppressed, Along with the children of Judah; All who took them captive have held them fast; They have refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; hwhy (Yahuwah)* of hosts is His mv, (shem, "name") (Jeremiah 50:33,34).
Others also testify as to Elohim's personal name. Mosheh and the people of Israel sang a song in which they sing:
hwhy (Yahuwah)* is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my Elohim, and I will praise Him; My father's Elohim, and I will exalt Him. hwhy (Yahuwah)* is a man of war; hwhy (Yahuwah)* is His mv, (shem, "name") (Exodus 15:2,3).
David calls him by his personal name:
And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of Elohim, whose mv, (shem, "name") is called by the mv, (shem, "name"), hwhy (Yahuwah)* of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim.
Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your mv, (shem, "name"), hwhy (Yahuwah)*. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, That they may know that You, whose mv, (shem, "name") alone is hwhy (Yahuwah)*, Are the Most High over all the earth (Psalm 83:16-18).
And the prophet Amos emphasizes his personal name:
For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth -- hwhy (Yahuwah)* Elohim of hosts is His mv, (shem, "name") (Amos 4:13).
He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning And makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth; hwhy (Yahuwah)* is His mv, (shem, "name") (Amos 5:8).
He who builds His layers in the sky, And has founded His strata in the earth; Who calls for the waters of the sea, And pours them out on the face of the earth -- hwhy (Yahuwah)* is His mv, (shem, "name") (Amos 9:6).
Many other texts could have been cited which explicitly denote the Creator's personal name as hwhy (Yahuwah) In fact, the name hwhy (Yahuwah) occurs in the Hebrew Bible 6007 times in 5195 verses (according to the BibleWorks database). And that is just in the Old Testament Scriptures (the Tanach).
If the name hwhy (Yahuwah) is one of the most frequently used words in the Hebrew Bible, then why is it that in most English Bibles you can not find the name hwhy (Yahuwah) anywhere? And shouldn't Christians, who claim to have a personal knowledge and relationship with the living Elohim, be alarmed about this fact? Instead of being suspicious of those people who want to call attention to the fact that Elohim's unique, personal name is missing from most Bible translations, shouldn't Christians instead be suspicious of and boiling mad at those translators who have intentionally left out Elohim's name from our English Bibles?
After all, it should be self evident that Elohim's personal name is not "the LORD"! And His name is not "God" or "Adonai" either. "The LORD" is a substitution for the true name of Elohim which is hwhy (Yahuwah). "Lord" is a translation of the Hebrew word adonai (which can also be translated "master"). The title "Lord" is then capitalized as a convenient way of acknowledging that they are rendering the Hebrew word "YHWH." "God" is merely a generic title of classification like the words, "human," and "animal." And "Adonai" is a Hebrew word of respectful salutation which is usually translated in modern English as "Mr." or "Sir."
In fact, it should be regarded as suspicious, or even ludicrous, to translate a personal name at all. When "Juan" does his world travel, his name does not get translated to "John" or to anything else! No matter where "Juan" goes, his name is still "Juan." Nobody's name needs to be "translated" when he is in the company of people of a different language! A name remains the same no matter where a person goes.
Thus, any attempt to translate Elohim's personal name into a term more suitable to the English language, just because his name is Hebrew in origin, could be regarded as ridiculous and laughable if it were not so seriously wrong! Elohim's name is not to be tossed around and bantered about. His name is to be kept sacred and honored. He told us what his name is and we should honor his name as he has revealed it.
The third of the Ten Commandments warns against mishandling of Elohim's sacred name:
You shall not take the name of hwhy (Yahuwah) your Elohim in vain, for hwhy (Yahuwah) will not hold him guiltless who takes His name mv, in vain (Exodus 20:7).
You shall not take the name of hwhy (Yahuwah) your Elohim in vain, for hwhy (Yahuwah) will not hold him guiltless who takes His name mv, in vain (Deuteronomy 5:11).
The phrase, in vain, in the texts above, is translated from the Hebrew word, sha-ve, which means "emptiness, vanity, falsehood, nothingness, emptiness of speech, lying, worthlessness (of conduct)." To take Elohim's name in vain would be, therefore, to regard His name as worthless, empty or nothingness. Isn't that exactly what translators have done when they completely removed His sacred name from the Bible and substituted some arbitrary designation in its place?!
By removing Elohim's personal name from English Bible translations, His sacred name has been effectively removed from the minds and lips of believers. There could not be any worse case of "taking Elohim's name in vain." His name has been completely emptied and erased from our thinking and speech. As a result, the Christian world has been guilty of breaking the third commandment in the worst kind of way! We have completely ignored and forgotten his personal, sacred name.
How did this all come about? Surely there must be a reason that Elohim's people have hidden and concealed the Creator's unique, personal name. And when did it become fashionable to erase Elohim's sacred name from the Bible and avoid using it? The doctrine of the ineffable name is one that the Jews hold onto to this day! Thus, in their reading the Scriptures, and in their speech, the Jews say "Adonai" or "HaShem" or "the Name" instead of pronouncing Elohim's sacred name hwhy (Yahuwah). And Christianity has followed in their footsteps by banning the sacred name from Bible translations. Most English Bibles have placed the indistinct title "the LORD" in place of his personal name hwhy (Yahuwah).
The sacred name hwhy was freely used by the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, by Mosheh, by prophets, by priests and by all others who enjoyed covenant relationship with the Creator. And the sacred name was exactly pronounced by all of the same.
At least until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. this name (hwhy) was regularly pronounced with its proper vowels, as is clear from the Lachish Letters, written shortly before that date. (Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol 7, p. 680)
And it continued to be used by the Jews until the disturbing events of the second century B.C.E. took place.
At that time, the Seleucid king, Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164) persecuted the Jews in the city of Jerusalem, desecrated the temple of hwhy and severely profaned and blasphemed the sacred name of Elohim. The Jews were forced, under the threat of death, "to depart from the laws of their fathers, and to cease living by the laws of Elohim" (2 Maccabees 6:1). Antiochus attempted to Hellenize the Jews; that is, to force them to accept and practice the culture of the Greeks. Part of this attempted Hellenization of the Jews included a prohibition against keeping Sabbath and a prohibition against using and pronouncing Elohim's sacred name. So, at Antiochus' orders,
Sabbath-keeping and the practice of circumcision had been forbidden under the pain of death; law-keeping Jews were subjected to every degradation and brutality imaginable; and pagan sacrifices and prostitution were established in the holy temple at Jerusalem. The reign of terror under Antiochus also brought with it the vile abuse and the prohibition against the sacred name as part of his program of forced Hellenization. ("Prohibition Against Sacred Name" in The Sacred Name Yahweh [Qadesh La Yahweh Press, Second Edition, 1995], pp.142,3).
The Jews, of course, revolted against this brutal persecution. One of the results of the Jewish uprising was the formation of three religious parties in Israel - the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. And with them came a new religious climate in Israel which focused on the "traditions of the fathers" as a guiding force for scriptural interpretation.
In the eyes of the rabbis, everything possible had to be done to avoid such horrible blasphemy from ever occurring again. It was time to build "a fence around the Torah (Law)." (Ibid., p.143)
Thus, the religious rulers began to formulate an interpretation of the Scriptures which became known as the Oral Law and eventually found a written form in the Talmud.
This oral tradition, whose purpose was to build "a fence around the Torah," featured additional guidelines which explained the "intention" of the Torah, and soon came to be rigorously imposed on the common people by the three religious parties in Israel. Laws were formulated and enforced which put stringent restrictions on the Sabbath day activities and in other areas of Jewish life, including the use and pronunciation of the sacred name, Yahuwah. Responding to the way the sacred name had been desecrated by Antiochus, the religious elite placed restrictions on the use of Elohim's sacred name.
The Jewish religious leaders pressed forward with an ultra-pious interpretation of Leviticus 24:16 - which commanded that anyone, whether Israelite or alien, who had blasphemed (did violence to) the name hwhy, should be stoned to death - and a misunderstanding of Exodus 20:7, and Deuteronomy 5:11, which commanded that no one was to carry the name of hwhy to worthlessness. These passages were now understood to mean that it was profane even to utter the sacred name. Only the very pious were permitted limited use of the name, and the practice quickly degenerated into a superstition. Its assumption was that all men were evil, and as the Midrash Tehillim concludes, the world was not worthy enough to pronounce the "whole name." (Ibid., p.144.)
Thus, the Jewish doctrine of the ineffable name was born.
The Manual of Discipline in the Qumran scrolls provides further confirmation of this ban on the use of the name:
Any man who mentions anything by the Name which is honored above all shall be set apart (i.e. banished) (Man. of Disc. 6:27)
In the Yoma in the Mishnah we read,
One does not pronounce the ineffable name outside (of the temple). Ten times did the high priest pronounce the name. (Yoma 3:8; 4:1,2; 6:1,2; 8:9.)
That is, only the high priest was permitted to vocalize the sacred name and that only on the Day of Atonement. By the time of Messiah, this prohibition against speaking the sacred name was already firmly established and zealously enforced.
An interesting detail of this ban on the use of the sacred name and pertinent to our understanding of the conflict between Messiah and the Pharisees is that any such verbalization of the name hwhy was considered to be blasphemy. And at a trial, one could not be convicted unless he had exactly pronounced the sacred name:
"The blasphemer" is not culpable unless he exactly pronounces the name. (Sanh. 7:5. Quoted from The Sacred Name hwhy, Qadesh La Yahuwah Press, 1995, p.156. The footnote goes on to say, "William Arnold brings our attention to the fact that the Hebrew expression ... literally means that the blasphemer, to be guilty, must pronounce the sacred name hwhy 'exactly'")
In other words, blasphemy, as defined and interpreted by the Jews, was the act of exactly pronouncing the sacred name.
They even laid down a very specific procedure for bringing a conviction of blasphemy. According to the Mishnah, the following is an example of that procedure:
Rabbi Joshua ben Karha says: On every day they examined the witnesses with a substituted name, "May Jose smite Jose." When sentence was to be given they did not declare him guilty of death with the substituted name, but they sent out all the people and asked the chief among the witnesses and said to him. "Say exactly what you heard." and he says it; and the judges stand up on their feet and rend their garments, and they may not mend them again. And the second witness says, "I also heard the like," and the third says, "I also heard the like." (Ibid.)
Even at a trial, because of their superstitious interpretation of the Scriptures, the rabbis used a substitute name for Yahuwah when interrogating the witnesses. And then only just before the conclusion did they actually have the chief witness exactly pronounce the sacred name when quoting the defendant.
Then the judges, even though the Torah clearly forbids the high priest tearing his garment, were to rend their garments in a demonstration of being appalled, according to the Mishnah:
The judges stand up on their feet and rend their garments, and they may not mend them again. (Sanh. 7:5)
This completed the procedure for convicting a blasphemer.
Not long ago, I had an online conversation with a retired professor of Tanach from the Hebrew University who lives in Jerusalem. He was very upset with me that I was writing and speaking the Name of Elohim. Naturally, he told me I was saying it wrong, and that therefore I didn't deserve the death penalty, which is reserved for those who correctly vocalize the Name! As we have already explained, the name of Elohim was forbidden to be spoken as far back as the time of Antiochus Epiphanies. Some would say that even farther back in time, during the time of the Babylonian captivity, the Jewish rulers and teachers began to teach that the Name should not be uttered.
This retired professor with whom I conversed pointed me to Vayiqra 24. The Stone Edition Tanach, published by Mesorah Publications, ltd. renders verses 11 and 15/16 as follows:
The son of the Israelite woman pronounced the Name and blasphemed - so they brought him to Moses; the name of his mother was Shelomis daughter of Divri, of the tribe of Dan.
Any man who will blaspheme his God shall bear his sin; and one who pronounced blasphemously the Name of HASHEM shall be put to death, the entire assembly shall surely stone him; proselyte and native alike, when he blasphemes the Name, he shall be put to death.
According to Rabbinic tradition, anyone who speaks or pronounces the Name is to be put to death. Thus this Rabbi was condemning me because I was using the Name. He suggested to me that the verb in those verses, bq;n" (pronounced "naqav") is a rare verb and should always be translated "pronounce." Thus, in their view, I and all who say the Name are guilty of a crime deserving the death penalty. Just as they used that argument against the Messiah to put him to death, they are still standing by that tradition today and speak condemningly toward those who use the Name Yahuwah.
Let's take an in depth look at that word and how it is used and
translated elsewhere in Scripture.
Words from this same three letter root include: bq,n<: ("neqev") - "subterranean passage, mine" (as something which is dug out or a hole bored through); bq,n< (neqev) technical term relating to jeweler's work; tb,Q,m; (maqqevet) "hammer"; and tb,Q,m; (maqqevet) "a hole, an excavation, a quarry." Also, interestingly, this word is used in the Siloam inscription for "piercing through," i.e. digging the tunnel (TWOT).
The rabbis insist that this word means "to say, to pronounce." But that is hardly the meaning of this word in nearly all of its usages. Only in the sense of "to mark, to denote" does this word even come close to meaning "to pronounce." But there are other factors which indicate that in Vayiqra 24:11 and 16, this word does NOT mean "to pronounce." In both of these verses, and in the context as a whole, the word is used in parallel with "to curse."
The Yisraeli woman's son misused the Name and cursed.... Moreover, you are to tell the sons of Yisrael, 'If any man curses his Elohim he will bear responsibility for his sin, and one who misuses the name of Yahuwah must surely be put to death. The whole congregation must surely stone him, whether he is a foreigner or a native citizen; when he misuses the Name he must be put to death.
The Hebrew word ll;q' (pronounced "qalal") means "to be slight, swift, trifling, of little account; to curse." Just as the 3rd Word (Commandment) implores us not to use the name of Yahuwah in vain (means the same as qalal), we are told here not to use his Name in a slight or trifling manner - which is to "misuse" the Name. As in the style of Hebraic poetry, the phrases, "will bear responsibility for his sin" and "must surely be put to death" are clearly parallel in thought. So also, the parallel usage of these two verbs, qalal and naqav, imply that they are being used synonymously. In the account of this man's blasphemy, he misused the Name by slighting it or using it in a derogatory sense. He was not guilty of any crime by simply pronouncing the Name. He was guilty for MISusing the name.
In addition to the context of this account and the parallel use of these two verbs is the usage of naqav in the rest of the Tanach.
Yahoiada the priest took a chest and drilled a hole in its lid. He placed it on the right side of the altar near the entrance of Yahuwah's temple. The priests who guarded the entrance would put into it all the silver brought to Yahuwah's temple (2 Melakim 12:9).
Now look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If a man leans for support on it, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him (2 Melakim 18:21).
In these two instances, naqav is used in its most common meaning. "To drill," "to puncture," "to make a hole" is the basic meaning of this three letter root word. Other places where naqav means this same thing are:
Can anyone catch it by its eyes, or pierce (naqav) its nose with a snare? (Iob 40:24).
Can you put a cord through its nose, or pierce (naqav) its jaw with a hook? (Iov 41:2).
Look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If someone leans on it for support, it punctures (naqav) his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him (Yeshayahu36:6).
You were in Eden, the garden of Elohim. Every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and diamond, the beryl, onyx, and jasper, the sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; your settings and engravings (naqav) were made of gold. On the day you were created they were prepared (Yechezqel 28:13).
You pierce (naqav) the heads of his warriors with a spear. They storm forward to scatter us; they shout with joy as if they were plundering the poor with no opposition (Habakkuk 3:14).
You have planted much, but have little harvest. You eat, but are never filled. You drink, but are still thirsty. You are clothed, but not warm. Those who earn wages end up with holes (naqav) in their money bags.'" (Chaggai 1:6).
The primary meaning of naqav is hereby clearly demonstrated to be in the sense of "to drill, make a hole," and therefore in Vayiqra 24 is a reference to the "drilling" or "wounding" of the name Yahuwah.
There is a usage of naqav which means "to designate" and it is followed with the phrase, "by name" (in Hebrew, the verb naqav followed by a form of shem).
So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name (Bemidbar 1:17).
From the half tribe of Manasseh there were 18,000 who had been designated by name to come and make David king (1 Chronicles 12:31).
Nations will see your vindication, and all kings your splendor. You will be called by a new name that Yahuwah himself will give you (Yeshayahu 62:2).
With this same grammatical construction and meaning, see also 1 Chron 16:41; 2 Chron 28:15; 31:19; Ezra 8:20. But this construction does NOT by any stretch have the same meaning as "to say, to pronounce." It is defined as "to mark, to designate" with the core idea of marking with a tool, or etching, or possibly even "placing a mark or signature" on something. The occurrences of this verb in this sense convey the thought that those people so named are given legal notice by their names being etched on a list.
In this same sense, Lavan spoke to Ya'acov.
He continued, "Name me your wages, and I will give it." (Ber 30:28).
Again, Lavan was allowing Ya'acov to designate his wages, but not in the sense of "pronounce your wages"! We have a similar figure of speech in English. One might say, "My cut of the money is to be so-and-so." So, we might even loosely retranslate the above as "He continued, 'Cut for me (i.e. name for me the cut of) your wages, and I will give it.'"
So the primary meaning of naqav is hereby clearly demonstrated to be in the sense of "to drill, make a hole," and therefore in Vayiqra 24 is a reference to the "drilling" or "wounding" of the name Yahuwah. Such "wounding" of the name Yahuwah is punishable by death. But merely pronouncing the Name as a means of naming the Creator is both encouraged and expected among those who are in covenant relationship with Yahuwah.
During the first century of the common era, the Sadducees and the Pharisees ruled the Jews with a heavy hand. The people were afraid to do or say anything contrary to the rulings and customs of those religious authorities lest they get permanently removed from the temple (cf. John 9:22). Their oral tradition, which consisted of commentaries and interpretations of the written word, did not merely supplement the inspired Scriptures. The authority of the oral code superseded the written Tanach - the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. Thus, when there was a conflict between the written Word of Elohim and the oral tradition of the elders, the oral tradition was followed. The pious Jewish leadership had actually formulated and implemented an Oral Tradition which superseded the authority of the Torah of Elohim!!
It was into this climate of religious zealousness that the Messiah entered during the first century C.E. Yahusha had numerous confrontations with the ultra-pious religious rulers of his day. He rebuked the elders and leaders for placing the authority of the oral code over the written word:
Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Yahusha from Jerusalem and said, "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of Elohim for the sake of your tradition? "For Elohim said, 'HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,' and, 'HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.' "But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever I have that would help you has been given to Elohim," he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of Elohim for the sake of your tradition. (Matthew 15:1-6, NAS)
By allowing the oral traditions to have greater weight that the Tanach, the Pharisees and elders could reinterpret or completely nullify the simple teachings given by Elohim in the Torah.
Messiah Yahusha taught his disciples to always obey the instructions of the Torah (sometimes referred to as "Mosheh"). But to those who held this view of the superiority of the oral traditions over the written word, Yahusha issued his strongest rebukes:
"The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Mosheh; therefore all that he (i.e. Mosheh) tells you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments." (Matthew 23:2-5, NAS corrected by Shem Tob)
(Note: the rendering of the above text as "he" instead of "they" is based upon the Shem Tob Hebrew manuscripts of the gospel of Matthew. The reading of the Hebrew text is thoroughly consistent with the rest of Yahusha's teaching about whom his disciples should obey. And this rendering clears up a huge problem of interpretation if Yahusha had told them to obey all the rabbis' teachings.)
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Greek, anomia,"Torah-lessness", Matthew 23:23-28, NAS)
The religious leaders had successfully implemented their own man-made system of laws and customs, which at times, bore no resemblance to the guidelines and instructions which Yahuwah had given to his people.
And thus is was also, in regard to the usage of the sacred name. No one was permitted, under the penalty of being ostracized, to use and pronounce the sacred name hwhy. Should Elohim himself, come down to dwell with men, use his own sacred name in the hearing of men, the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots would have resoundingly rebuked him (...and they did!).
Naturally, Messiah Yahusha, who was Yahuwah dwelling in human flesh, would have (and did) use the sacred name hwhy (Yahuwah) of himself. This point is so self evident that it nearly insults the reader to have to mention it. And yet, this very basic premise has been astoundingly overlooked by nearly all Bible scholars, students, readers and ministers. The incredible oversight of this is part of the reason that the Christian Church is thoroughly oblivious of the sacred name of the Creator Elohim!
Of course Yahusha used the sacred name hwhy (Yahuwah) of himself! Not to have used and pronounced his own sacred name would have constituted false testimony of himself, and thus a breaking of his own commandment!! It does not matter that the religious leaders had put a ban on using the sacred name. Yahusha did not submit himself to any of their other man made rules. Why would he have refrained from using his own name just because the religious authorities said to? This was, after all, his own name, and his father's name, which he had come to proclaim.
First, Yahusha speaks of his father's name:
I have manifested Your name (i.e. the name hwhy - Yahuwah) to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. (John 17:6, NAS)
Since the Father had no other name than hwhy (Yahuwah), we presume that he was referring to this name. Then, Yahusha states that his Father's name is also his own name:
"I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. (John 17:11,12, NAS)
Therefore, Yahusha must also have the name hwhy (Yahuwah) since he claimed the same. Then, Yahusha declares that he has made known his Father's name to his disciples:
"O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:25,26, NAS)
Thus, Yahusha had fulfilled his mission to make know his Father's name to his disciples.
Yahusha, furthermore, claimed that the works he performed were done in the name of his Father:
Yahusha answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name (i.e. in the name hwhy Yahuwah), these testify of Me. (John 10:25, NAS)
As with his other miracles which he performed as proof of who he is, Yahusha proved that he shares his Father's sacred name hwhy (Yahuwah) by performing works in that name!
From the point of view of the Pharisees, et al, Yahusha's pronunciation of and use of the sacred name hwhy (Yahuwah) was both blasphemous and an act of defiance of their authority. To them it was blasphemy because he exactly pronounced the sacred name. And it was defiance, in their view, because he refused to live by their rules! Yahusha was not using the sacred name in order to initiate a confrontation. He was using that name because it is the proper name for him to use.
Some of the confrontations we read about in the gospels are a direct result of Messiah's use of his own sacred name. For example, during the exchange between Yahusha and the Jews after the healing of the man born blind, Yahusha used the sacred name of himself when he said,
Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am. (John 8:58)
It was an unmistakable declaration and it infuriated the Jews, because in their view, by pronouncing the sacred name, he was speaking blasphemy. Their response is predictable:
Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Yahusha hid Himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:59)
As we noted above, the oral law was clear when it defined blasphemy. Blasphemy occurred only when a person exactly pronounced the sacred name. Thus, the Jews wanted to stone Yahusha because in saying, "I am," he was exactly pronouncing his own name, and was therefore, once again, defying their authority.
Yahusha's disciples also regularly used his sacred name. In his sermon to the crowd on Pentecost, Peter conveyed the importance of the sacred name hwhy (Yahuwah). When the crowd saw that everyone was hearing the gospel preached in their own language, they wondered how this could be. Peter's response was to quote the prophet Joel who describes the work of Elohim's Spirit:"'In the last days, Elohim says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of hwhy. And everyone who calls on the name of hwhy will be saved.' (Acts 2:17-21, NIV with sacred name reinstated, quoting Joel 2:28-32)
It is usually overlooked in this text that both Joel, and Peter quoting him, indicate that the Holy Spirit prompts his people to call upon the name hwhy. I have restored the sacred name into the text above because, doubtless, Peter quoted the Scripture using the sacred name which Yahusha had taught him:
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Yahusha is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." (Hebrews 2:11,12, NIV)
And again, in his prayer for his disciples, Yahusha says:
I have manifested Your name (i.e. the name hwhy - Yahuwah) to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. (John 17:6, NAS)
O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:25,26)
Since Peter was taught and knew the sacred name hwhy, he certainly used it while quoting Scriptures.
Even more importantly, the text of Acts 2:17-21 says that salvation is obtained by calling in faith upon hwhy. Shaul (the apostle Paul) instructs the same thing:
That if you confess with your mouth, "J*sus is Lord," and believe in your heart that Elohim raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:9-13, NIV)
Or better yet, read it with the sacred names restored to the text:
That if you confess with your mouth, "Yahusha is hwhy," and believe in your heart that Elohim raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of hwhy will be saved." (Romans 10:9-13, NIV with sacred names restored)
So, the confession that Paul instructs us to make which leads to salvation is not merely "Yahusha is 'lord' or 'master.'" The confession is more specific than that. The confession is that "Yahusha is Yahuwah"! And Paul, like Peter before him, quotes the same text from the prophet Joel, "Everyone who calls on the name of hwhy will be saved." This fits naturally into our understanding of who Yahusha is. We have discovered above that Yahusha claimed, by using the sacred name of himself, to be none other than Yahuwah in the flesh. Thus, Paul's confession unto salvation is for me to realize that the Messiah is one and the same as the Creator Elohim and includes the surrender of my heart to do His will in my live.
As the premier Hebrew speaking Torah scholar of his generation, and not as one who was influenced by the prevailing skepticism and traditionalism of the unbelieving Jewish orthodoxy which held up the oral tradition as more authoritative than the written Torah, Shaul (Paul) consistently quoted the Hebrew Scriptures by leaving the sacred name intact.
James, the brother of Yahusha and head of the Assembly at Jerusalem, also was taught and subsequently used the sacred name. The following portion of his letter, for example, illustrates this.
As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. (James 5:10-15)
In the English version text, "the Lord" is translated from the Greek kurioj. The Greek text is probably a translation from the original manuscript in Hebrew or Aramaic (I do not intend to offer proof of this here, but follow the reasoning...). As such, kurioj is translated from the sacred name hwhy and not from adonai ("lord"). An examination of the content and context suggests the same.
First of all, James mentions the prophets who spoke in the name of "the Lord." With a mere perusal of the writings of the prophets, one can see how many hundreds of times the prophets spoke a "thus says hwhy". They never spoke in the name of adonai. So James must be referring to hwhy here. The text can be more accurately translated, "take the prophets who spoke in the name of hwhy...." Next, he mentions Job. The sacred name hwhy is used 29 times in the book of Job. Surely, it was hwhy who was dealing with Job. And we can then translate, "You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of hwhy's dealings..."
Then, consider the text, "that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." This is a paraphrase of a popular Hebrew thought which can be found many times in the Scriptures.
"Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that hwhy may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers, if you will listen to the voice of hwhy your Elohim, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of hwhy your Elohim. (Deuteronomy 13:17,18)
And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of hwhy before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." (Exodus 33:19)
hwhy is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. hwhy is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. (Psalm 145:8,9)
Surely James had hwhy in mind when he wrote, "that hwhy is full of compassion and is merciful."
And finally, anointing with oil was also a common practice of the prophets and priests of old. The specifications were given in the Torah by hwhy. Thus, James' text should have the sacred name restored because this is clearly whom he was speaking of. When we restore the sacred name into James' text, we have a coherent and accurate statement of the teaching of the head elder of the assembly of believers in Jerusalem who was taught to hold the sacred name in honor and in reverence. After all, it was James' own brother (Yahusha) who taught James and the rest of his disciples to pray, "Our father in heaven, may your name be sanctified..." (Matthew 6:9). Here then is how James' text should read:
As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of hwhy. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of hwhy's dealings, that hwhy is full of compassion and is merciful. But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of hwhy; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and hwhy will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. (James 5:10-15, NAS with sacred name restored)
The use of the sacred name hwhy is also of vital importance to our understanding of the present and the future as depicted in the book of Revelation. It should not surprise us that the book of Revelation also presents Elohim as wanting his people to refer to him by his sacred name and that using his sacred name is one of the indicators (sign or mark) of who belongs to him.
In the messages given to the seven churches, we find reference to believers who are commended for continuing to hold Elohim's sacred name in honor.
'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Revelation 2:13)
'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. (Revelation 3:8)
To the believers at Pergamus and at Philadelphia, Elohim notes that though others have succumbed to the ineffable name doctrine of the unbelieving Jews, these faithful ones have not forgotten his sacred name but have clung to it and honored it in accordance with the third of the Ten Commandments.
Later, those who are to be rewarded for their faithfulness to Messiah are described as "those who fear your name."
"And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:18)
The word "fear" means to reverence or to hold in high esteem. Clearly those who cherish and honor Elohim's sacred name are here in view. Because they would not make light of, or bring to worthlessness (cf. the third commandment in Exodus 20:7) the sacred name hwhy, but instead had reverence for his holy name, these will be rewarded by Messiah at his parousia.
The Bible never depicts the "Christian" as one who claims the name of Yahusha (or "J*sus") alone. Instead the one who truly has and holds fast to Yahusha ("J*sus") also has His Father's name hwhy on his forehead prominently displayed. To honor one is to honor the other.
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
The proper use of and reverence for the sacred name hwhy is actually the mark of Elohim on those who belong to him. Just as those who worship the Beast have a mark on their foreheads, so Elohim's people have a mark or indicator on their forehead that they belong to Him. And that mark is the proper and reverent use of his holy name.
Revelation goes on to confirm what we have just seen. Those who fear Elohim will also reverence and "glorify" his sacred name.
"Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED." (Revelation 15:4)
And so we find that the New Jerusalem which is coming down out of heaven features all of his servants and those who reverence him. And they will have his sacred name, hwhy, written on their foreheads, which is a figure of speech meaning that they will all know and honor his sacred name.
There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3,4)
The Creator has a name by which he wants to be called. He revealed his name to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And he revealed his set-apart name hwhy to Mosheh and to all the prophets. This name of Elohim has never changed. The Tanach bears record that all who call upon him do so by pronouncing and addressing him by his revealed, sacred name. The Scriptures testify to his sacred name over six thousand times.
In spite of the efforts of self-righteous men to bring his name to worthlessness by banning and eliminating the proper use of that holy name, Messiah Yahusha taught his disciples the proper pronunciation and use of his father's sacred name. The disciples in turn, as evidenced by their writings, used and taught Elohim's sacred name. And the people who are rewarded with the kingdom of heaven at Messiah's coming also use and reverence Elohim by his sacred name. What further evidence do you need to join with all the saints of the Bible and do the same?