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The Personal Name Yahweh
any English speaking Christians will contend that there is no, singu-
lar, personal name for our heavenly father because the pages of the
King James Bible
and many other English translations do not contain the nameYahweh, let alone directly state that this is the personal name of our heaven-ly father. “If there was an important personal name,” their argument goes,“then our translations would surely reflect it.”
One will be faced with a great deal of difficulty if he tries to discover the
personal name of our heavenly father in the pages of most English and othertranslations of the Scriptures. These translations encumber the reader bydeliberately stripping the personal name Yahweh out of their text and thenreplacing it with either the title “the LORD,” by the deity class “GOD,” or thehybrid “Jehovah” (see figure 1). Nevertheless, that men, through their ownhuman reasonings, found it necessary to substitute the sacred name with oth-er words does not negate the fact that in the original Hebrew texts the per-sonal name “Yahweh” was boldly set forth. Neither does it diminish theimportance of the sacred name. Indeed, the very fact that the sacred namehas been substituted, thereby altering the original text, should be viewed assuspicious by Christians, not as a justification for not using it.
That so many would go to such great lengths to change the original mean-
ing of the text may at first seem illogical. Nevertheless, this alteration of theoriginal Hebrew text has been built upon the false and unscriptural premisethat the sacred name is too sacred for any common man to speak. Because ofthis interpretation the “ineffable name doctrine” was born. Scribes and trans-lators holding to this dogma felt it necessary to conceal the sacred name fromtheir readers. Their motives, justifications and reasons for this deception willbe fully dealt with in our second volume.1 In this chapter we must concen-trate on the evidence that the name Yahweh does appear in the original textsand that there is indeed only one important personal name for our heavenlyfather, the name Yahweh.
Yahweh Testifies to His Name
The person who seeks to know and abide with what the original manu-
scripts actually state should check the forward or preface and the footnotes
to his Bible. In most cases he will come across a notation that the personal
name “Yahweh” (hwhy in palaeo-Hebrew and hwhy in Aramaic script) has
The Sacred Name
been substituted out by the translators (cf. Fig. 1).2 A quick check with a He-brew concordance will also give you easy access to which word-substitutionsrepresent the name Yahweh.3 These sources will confirm that the sacredname Yahweh is preserved to us nearly 7,000 times in the Holy Writ.4
The most effective way of bringing the truth to the forefront is to examine
the original Hebrew verse. In these documents one finds that only one wordis said to be the µç (shem
), or name, of the almighty, the name hwhy (Yah-weh). Even more importantly, it is Yahweh himself who proclaims his name.
The following examples demonstrate this fact:
And said again eloahim to Moses, “Thus shall yousay to the sons of Israel, hwhy (Yahweh), the eloahiof your fathers, the eloahi of Abraham, the eloahi ofIsaak, and the eloahi of Jacob, has sent me to you.
This is my µç (shem, name) to forever, and this ismy memorial to generation upon generation. (Exod.,3:15)
Two important points are made in this passage:
• His name is hwhy (Yahweh). You will find in modern versions of the
Hebrew text that the letter form hwhy (Y-H-W-H) is found, the so-called Tetra-grammaton. This represents a much later letter style (also called Aramaicand Assurith).5 We will instead use the lettering hwhy (Y-H-W-H), which isthe original and is commonly referred to as palaeo-Hebrew or archaic He-brew.6 Our reasons for following the original ancient style will becomeapparent later on in our study.7 (Also, for those unfamiliar with Hebrew,keep in mind that you read Hebrew from right to left).
2 For example, see NEB, Intro., p. xvi; RSV, Pref., p. v–vi, Exod., 3:15, n. f; NASB, p. ix; BAT,
pref., xvi; SRB, Gen., 2:4, n. 2; CT, ns. Gen., 4:26, 22:14, Exod., 3:14. Also see comments in NTB,Intro., pp. xx–xxi.
3 For a list of these substitutions see YAC, pp. 418f, under “God,” no. 6, “Jehovah
, hwhy [read
by Jews elohim
, prob. Yahweh
]”; p. 536, under “Jehovah”; p. 617–619, s.v. “LORD,” no. 5. “He
).” Also see SEC, pp. 398–406, under “God,” no. 3068, 3069; p.
538, s.v. “Jehovah”; pp. 613–634, under “Lord,” nos. 3068, 3069.
4 JE, 9, p. 160, “6,823 times”; HBD, p. 685. YDBN, p. 5. To this figure we must add 134 times
where Jewish copyists (Sopherim) of the Masoretic text, believing that certain passages were toooften quoted that used the sacred name, changed the primitive Hebrew text to read adonai oreloahim instead of Yahweh (MCM, I, pp. 24–26, §107–115, IV, pp. 27–29, §107–115; CB, 1, app.
32). When the Qumran documents and the LXX are compared with the Masoretic text, we havefurther evidence that the Jewish scribes altered a few names in the more primitive text to readadonai and eloahim instead of Yahweh. Parallel passages in 2 Sam. and 1 Chron., relying on thesame source documents and even using the same wording, also demonstrate that later scribes al-tered the original wording, replacing Yahweh with eloahim (MCE, pp. 367f). For other variousalterations see MCE., pp. 367-404.
Yet even if these earliest changes are not considered, the 6,823 Yahwehs in our present Mas-
oretic text and the 134 confirmed alterations gives us a total of 6,957 times that the name Yahwehappears in the OT alone. It is also now known that the NT originally used the sacred name (seeVol. II, Chaps. IX–XI). If we include these into our number it would raise the use to nearly 8,000times!
5 EJ, 2, pp. 685–689. For a discussion of these letter styles see Vol. II, Chaps. I–III.
6 EJ, 2, pp. 681–685.
7 See Vol. II.
The Personal Name Yahweh
Examples of substitutions in the Authorized King James Version.
hwhy (Yahweh) translated as “the LORD.”
name of the LORD; praise him, O
.hîw… Ohy“ ydèEb][' Wlfil]h'@ h=w: Ohy“
.WnyhâeOla‘ tyB¢´´ tw Orfix]j'B⁄]
.µy[êIn: yK¢i w Om%v]li@ WrìM]z"
good: sing praises unto his name; for itis pleasant.
H=y: w Ol∞Arh'Bâ; bqo[}yê"£AyKI 4
unto himself, and Israel for his peculiartreasure.
h=w: Ohy“ lw Od§g:AyKêI yTidæ yn∞Ia} yK¶i 5
.µyhâiOla‘ AlK;mi WnynfiEdoa}wê"@
and that our Lord is above all gods.
hwhy (Yahweh) translated as “GOD.”
While adonai (ynda) is translated as Lord.
hNèEhiw“ hwI+ OhyÖ yn∞:doa} y!nIaŸ'r“hi hKo• 4
hw–I OhyÖ y§n:doa} v£aeB; brèIl; ar´´öqø
hl;k]aâ…w“ hB+;r' µw Oh∞T]Ata, lŸk'aOTŸw"
µWq¡y: ymài an:±Aldæh} hŸwI Ohy‘
aOl∞ aŸyhiAµG" tazO=Al[' hw: Ohy“ µjà'nI 6
.hwêI OhyÖ ynè:doa} rm`æa; hy<±h]tâi
also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
hwhy (Yahweh) translated as “Jehovah.”
Ú∞m]vi hT$;a'AyKâi W[%d“yêEw@“ 18
The Sacred Name
• Yahweh himself specifically states that, “This is my shem (name).” He
does not say, “This is one of my names,” or “This is your name for me,” animportant difference. Here is one of the many clear and concise statementsmade in the Scriptures that Yahweh was the name applied by the eloahi tohimself. This point is further enhanced in the above cited passage becauseYahweh’s answer was made in direct response to the following questionfrom Moses:8
And Moses said to ha-eloahim, “Behold, I shall cometo the sons of Israel and say to them, The eloahi ofyour fathers has sent me to you. And they will say tome, What is his µç (shem; name)? What shall I say tothem?”
Besides the verse cited above from Exodus 3:l5, we also have these other
And he (hwhy) said: “If you will diligently hearkento the voice of hwhy your eloahi, and will do thatwhich is right in his eyes, and listen to his com-mand, and keep all his commandments, and keep allhis statutes, I will not put upon you all the diseaseswhich I have put upon Egypt; for I am hwhy, yourhealer.” (Exod., 15:26)
The first words of the Ten Commandments are:
I am hwhy your eloahi, who brought you out of theland of Egypt, out of the land of bondage. You willhave no other eloahim before my face. (Exod., 20:2–3)
I am hwhy, and none else (exist); except (for) methere is no other eloahim. I will clothe you, thoughyou do not know me, that they may know from therising of the sun and to the sunset that none else (ex-ist) besides me; I am hwhy and none else (exist)!Forming light and creating darkness; making peaceand creating evil; I, hwhy, do all these things. (Isa.,45:5–7)
I am hwhy; that is my µç (shem; name) and I willnot give my glory to another, nor my praise to en-graved images. (Isa., 42:8)
Exod., 3:13. See Chap. V, pp. 58–61, with regard to Exod., 3:14, and the issue of the phrase
The Personal Name Yahweh
The prophet Jeremiah quotes Yahweh as follows:
Can adam (mankind) make eloahim for himself?And they are not eloahim. Therefore, behold, I willmake them know; this time I will make them knowmy hand and my might; and they will know that myµç (shem; name) is hwhy (Jer., 16:20–21)
Thus says hwhy of hosts: “The sons of Israel and thesons of Judah are oppressed together; and all whocaptured them hold them fast; they refused to letthem go. Their redeemer is strong, hwhy of hosts ishis µç (shem; name). He shall surely plead theircause, so that they may give rest to the land, andgive turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon.” (Jer.,50:33–34)
Yahweh does not say, “You can call me Yahweh” or that, “This is one of
my names.” He clearly and unequivocally states, “I am hwhy; that is myname.” At no time does Yahweh state that his name is eloah (eloahi, eloa-him), el, adonai, or any other such word. He is the “eloahi of hosts” and the“eloahi of ha-eloahim” but his shem is hwhy.
The Prophets Testify
Yahweh was by no means the only voice proclaiming his name. The prophets
also fully acknowledged that the shem (name) of the almighty is hwhy (Yah-
weh). This next verse comes from the song of Moses:
hwhy is my strength and song, and he is my salva-tion. This is my el, and I will glorify him; my father’seloahi, and I will exalt him. hwhy is his µç (shem;name). (Exod., 15:2–3)
Many scriptural verses written by prophets other than Moses also plainly
state that the name (shem) of the almighty is Yahweh.
And David rose up and went, and all the peoplewho were with him from Baal-Judah, to bring upfrom there the ark of ha-eloahim, that is called bythe honored name, hwhy of hosts,9 who dwells overthe cherubim. (2 Sam., 6:2)
In this passage the words µç µç (shem shem) are used. These words are often mistrans-
lated to mean “name name,” which results in the awkward translation, “is called (by) the name,the name Yahweh.” But shem also holds as one of its meanings “honored” (SEC, Heb. #8034)and “fame, reputation” (HEL, p. 270). Therefore, we have rendered the phrase, “the honoredname Yahweh,” which is a more sensible understanding.
The Sacred Name
In the following song the psalmist asks Yahweh to condemn the enemies
of the almighty, who are also the enemies of Israel.
Fill their faces with shame, and they will seek yourname hwhy. Let them be ashamed and terrified for-ever, and let them be pale and perish. And let themknow that you, your name being hwhy, you aloneare the most high over all the earth. (Ps., 83:16–19)
The prophets Jeremiah and Amos have the following to say:
Thus says hwhy its (the earth’s) maker, hwhy whoformed it in order to establish it; hwhy is his name.
Call to me and I will answer you and will tell yougreat and inscrutable things you do not know. (Jer.,33:2–3)
(As) I live, says the king whose name is hwhy ofhosts, surely as Tabor is among the mountains, andas Carmel is by the sea, he (Nebuchadnezzar, king ofBabylon) shall come (against Egypt). (Jer., 46:18)
Moab is plundered and her cities have come up, andhis chosen young men have gone to the slaughter,says the king whose name is hwhy of hosts. (Jer.,48:15)
For behold, he who forms mountains and creates thewind and declares to adam (mankind) what is histhought; he who makes dawn (into) darkness, andtreads upon the high places of the earth, hwhy, theeloahi of hosts, is his name. (Amos, 4:13)
He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns thedeep darkness into morning, and made the day(into) dark night; who calls for the waters of the seaand pours them out upon the face of the earth; hwhyis his name. (Amos, 5:8)
Therefore, I will take you (the Israelites) into exilebeyond Damascus, says hwhy, the eloahi of hosts,being his name. (Amos, 5:27)
He who builds in the heavens his staircase and hisfirmament over the earth, he has founded it (theearth), hwhy is his name. (Amos, 9:6)
The Personal Name Yahweh
Whatever many popular religions might claim, the fact that Yahweh is the
only personal name of our heavenly father has not gone unnoticed by schol-
ars. To demonstrate, G. T. Manley, comments:10
Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only “name” ofGod. . . .Yahweh, therefore, in contrast with Elohim,is a proper noun, the name of a Person, though thatPerson is divine.
To interchange ‘Yahweh’ and ‘Elohim’ would notmake sense. Yahweh is the name by which his [Ja-cob’s] father worships the supreme God (Elohim).
But Jahweh [Yahweh] had one name, and this is oneknown throughout all his people.
T. Rees writes in The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia
weh, “is the personal proper name par excellence
of Israel’s God,” and that, “Itis the personal name of God, as distinguished from such generic or essentialnames as ‘El, ‘Elohim, Shadday, etc.”13 Harper’s Bible Dictionary
notes that thealmighty was known by “the individual and personal name ‘Yahweh,’ trans-lated kyrios
(Gk. ‘Lord’) in the LXX [Septuagint] and ‘the LORD’ by severalEnglish versions.”14 A. B. Davidson, in A Dictionary of the Bible
, similarlystates that Yahweh “is a personal name.”15 The authors of The Eerdmans BibleDictionary
were compelled by the evidence to admit, “Probably, only Yah-weh, the name revealed to Moses, is the personal name of God (YHWH
;Exod. 3:14); later regarded as too sacred for utterance, it is generally repre-sented in English texts as ‘the LORD.’” They also add, “This is a personal, notmagical name, publicly known, guarded against vain misuse.”16
The introduction to The New English Bible
reports, “This personal proper
name, written with the consonants YHWH, was considered too sacred to beuttered (by the Jews).”17 The Editorial Board for the New American StandardBible
10 NBD, p. 478.
11 NBD, p. 479.
12 OTT, p. 185.
13 ISBE, 2, p. 1254, 1266.
14 HBD, p. 684.
15 ADB, 2, p. 197.
16 EBD, p. 425.
17 NEB, p. xiv.
18 NASB, p. ix.
The Sacred Name
There is yet another name which is particularly as-signed to God as His special or proper name, that is,the four letters YHWH. . . . This name has not beenpronounced by the Jews because of reverence for thegreat sacredness of the divine name.
The Catholic Confraternity Text
acknowledges that “the word Yahweh” is,
“the proper personal name of the God of Israel.”19 The Interpreter’s DictionaryOf The Bible
states that the “personal name is Yahweh.”20
The Jewish Encyclopedia
makes “YHWH [hwhy], the distinctive personal
name of the God of Israel.”21 The Encyclopaedia Judaica
YHWH. The personal name of the God of Israel iswritten in the Hebrew Bible with the four consonantsYHWH and is referred to as the “Tetragrammaton.”
Samuel Sandmel, in his explanation of why he prefers to use the name
Yahve (Yahweh) rather than the substitute Lord, writes:23
As to my use of Yahve, the issue is a complicatedone. If Yahve is a name
, then The Lord is wrong; ifYahve is, rather, a title
, then The Lord is correct, andthe rendering Yahve ill advised. The fact is that Yah-ve was originally the name of Israel’s special deity.
The word “Yahweh” is not someone’s made-up name for our heavenly fa-
ther, an utterance which he permits men to use, but rather he has informed
us that this is his name. He has given this name to himself and has revealed
that circumstance to us. Add to this point the fact that the Scriptures strongly
pronounce that Yahweh does not change:
For I, hwhy, change not! Therefore, you sons of Ja-cob are not destroyed. (Mal., 3:6)
If Yahweh does not change, why are religious groups so quick to change
his personal name, even encouraging people to forget its existence? Why dothey count Yahweh’s words as something with which they need not concernthemselves? We are plainly told in Scriptures that Yahweh “is not the authorof confusion.”24 But Satan is! Whenever Satan “speaks falsehood, from his ownhe speaks; for a liar he is and the father of it.”25 It is Satan—not Yahweh—that——————————
19 CT, n. to Exod., 3:14.
20 IDB, 2, p. 407.
21 JE, 9, p. 160.
22 EJ, 7, p. 680.
23 HS, pref. IX.
24 1 Cor., 14:33.
25 John, 8:44.
The Personal Name Yahweh
is known and worshipped by the world under numerous personal names.26
On the other hand, the Scriptures prove, and scholars admit, that though
there are many “names” for our heavenly father which can be classed eitheras a generic term or a title, our heavenly father has only one personal name.
As the ancient Israelites proclaimed, “the el of eloahim is hwhy (Yahweh).”27The evidence also proves that this personal name was declared to men byYahweh himself and was not the invention of men.
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