Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

What is the Tetragrammaton?

Q.   What is the Tetragrammaton?

A.   The Tetragrammaton represents the four Hebrew letters of the Creator’s Name. The word itself is from the Greek tετραγράμματον, meaning “[consisting of] four letters,” which are yod-hey-waw-hey. These letters are unique in the Hebrew language, as they not only represent consonants, but also vowels. For this reason, they are called vowel-consonants.

According to most Hebrew scholars the Tetragrammaton is pronounced “Yahweh.” Consider the following scholarly sources:

A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, pg. 247. “Jehovah in that form was unknown to the ancient Israelites. In fact, Hebrew scholars say that Jehovah would have been impossible according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization. The God of Israel was known by a name approximately rendered into English as Yahweh.”

Wycliff Bible Dictionary, Charles Pfeiffer, Ed., “God, Names and Titles of,” pg. 694. “Yahweh was doubtless the approximate pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, the four-letter word YHWH, since transliterations into Gr. in early Christian literature have been found in the form of iaoue (Clement of Alexander) and iahe (Theodoret) pronounced ‘iave.’ The name is a variant connected with the verb haya, ‘to be,’ from an earlier form, hawa.”

The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger, Ed., “Names of God in the Hebrew Bible,” pg. 548. “The Bible often refers to God by his proper name, which was probably pronounced Yahweh …In the Hebrew Bible, the consonants yhwh are usually to be read as Adonai…’my Lord,’ for the sake of reverence, and English versions represent the word by ‘Lord’ or (less often) ‘God’ in capital letters.”

The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Allen C. Myers, Ed., “Yahweh,” pg. 1075. “Although the meaning of the name remains subject to debate, Yahweh is most likely a verbal form of Heb. haya (perhaps originally hwy)…Because of the utmost sanctity ascribed to the name, Jews from postexilic times on have declined to pronounce it in public reading, and only the consonants were written (YHWH; the Dead Sea Scrolls use the archaic, ‘paleo-Hebrew’ script). Although the original pronunciation was thus eventually lost, inscriptional evidence favors yahwae or yahwe. The name is represented in the MT by the consonants with the vowel pointing for ‘adonay ‘Lord.’ From this derived ca, the sixteenth century the form ‘Jehovah’ (yehowah). In modern usage pious Jews often substitute the expression has-sem ‘the Name.’”

The Journey from Texts to Translations, Paul D. Wegner, pg, 172, 173. “The scribes reasoned that if they did not point the name Yahweh then it could never be treated lightly since his name would not really be known. Initially the real pointing was probably passed along by tradition, but in time it was lost. In Exodus 20:7 the name Lord is written in capital letters according to the convention of signifying the name Yahweh, but the name as it appears in the Hebrew text is hwhy (yehowa), in which appear the consonants from the name Yahweh (hwhy [yhwh]) and the vowels from the word Lord (ynda [‘idonay]). Proof for the fabricated nature of this word are the two vowels which appear on the waw, an impossibility in Hebrew. However, until the revival of the Hebrew language in western Europe scholars read the consonants YHWH (Germans would read them as JHVH) with the vowels of ‘adonay, thereby originating the incorrect form Jehovah. This word was then introduced into English by William Tyndale and was continued by the King James Version.”

Understanding the Old Testament, Bernhard Anderson, “Definition: ‘Jehovah,’ ‘The Lord,’” pg. 61. “The personal divine name YHWH…has had an interesting history. In the Old Testament period the Hebrew language was written only with consonants; vowels were not added until the Common Era, when Hebrew was no longer a living language. On the basis of Greek texts, which of course use both vowels and consonants, it is believed that the original pronunciation of the name was Yahweh. Notice the shortened form of the divine name in the exclamation, ‘Halleluyah’ — ‘Praise Yah.’

“However, because of its holy character, the name Yahweh was withdrawn from ordinary speech during the period of the Second Temple (c. 500 B.C.E. and later) and the substitute word — actually a title not a personal name — Adonai, or (The) Lord, was used, as is still the practice in synagogues. Scholars who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek (the Septuagint) in the third century B.C.E. adopted this synagogue convention and rendered YHWH as (ho) kurios, ‘(The) Lord.’ From this Greek translation the practice was carried over into the New Testament.

“The word Jehovah is an artificial form that arose from the erroneous combination of the consonants YHWH with the vowels of Adonai — written under or over the Hebrew consonants to indicate that the substitute is to be pronounced. This hybrid form is often held to be the invention of Pater Galatin…but in actuality it can be traced back to a work by a certain Raymond Martin in 1270.”

For additional information on the Tetragrammaton, read our booklet, Your Father’s Name.

Also, watch our video, Does His Name Matter?

the Millennium

What is the Qere and Ketiv and how does it relate to the Masoretes?

Q.   What is the Qere and Ketiv and how does it relate to the Masoretes?

A.   Qere and Ketiv are orthographic devices that were used by the Masoretes, i.e., Jewish scribes from the 6-10th centuries. Qere means, “what is read,” and ketiv means, “what is written.” It is found in existing Masoretic manuscripts dating to the 9th and 10th centuries, CE. There are several forms of Qere / Ketiv, including: ordinary, vowel, omitted, added, euphemistic, split, and qere perpetuum.

The ketiv that is most relevant is the vowel qere. In this case, the consonants are unchanged, but different vowel signs are added and only the qere, i.e., what is read, is vocalized. The most notable example of this is with the Tetragrammaton or the four letters of the divine name. To ensure that the name was not pronounced, Masoretic Jewish scribes left the Hebrew consonants, but added the vowel points from Adonai, and on occasions Elohim. Following the Qere / Ketiv, the reader was to read Adonai or Elohim, depending on the vowel points used. It was never the intent of the scribes that the reader pronounce the vowel points with the consonants. Not realizing this, early translators of the Hebrew Bible transliterated the Tetragrammaton as “Jehovah.” Once scholarship realized that this was never the intent of the Hebrew text, scholarship noted the mistake. Today, there are some who either don’t understand the Qere / Ketiv system or who are actively trying to mislead people by insisting that the pronunciation is Yehovah. However, as nearly all Hebrew scholars acknowledge, this name arose through a deliberate modification in the Hebrew text following a tradition of not pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, beginning in the 3rd century BCE, as noted by the below reference.

“After the Babylonian Exile (6th century BCE), and especially from the 3rd century bce on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal rather than merely local religion, the more common noun Elohim, meaning ‘God,’ tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (‘My Lord’), which was translated as Kyrios (‘Lord’) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures,” Encyclopedia Britannica.

Below are additional sources confirming the use of the vowel points from Adonai:

“In the early Middle Ages, when the consonantal text of the Bible was supplied with vowel points to facilitate its correct traditional reading, the vowel points for Adonai with one variation – a sheva (short ‘e’) with the first yod [Y] of YHWH instead of the hataf-patah (short ‘a’) under the aleph of Adonai – was used for YHWH, thus producing the form YeHoWaH. When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name ‘Jehovah’” (Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).

“Jehovah, modern form of the Hebrew sacred name of God, probably originally ‘Yahweh.’ From c.300 B.C. the Jews, from motives of piety, uttered the name of God very rarely and eventually not at all, but substituted the title ‘Adonai,’ meaning ‘Lord,’ the vowels of which were written under the consonants of ‘Yahweh.’ In the Middle Ages and later, the vowels of one word with the consonants of the other were misread as Jehovah” (The Collegiate Encyclopedia, vol. 9, p. 580).

“Jehovah….What has been said explains the so-called qeri perpetuum, according to which the consonants of Jehovah are always accompanied in the Hebrew text by the vowels of Adonai except in the cases in which Adonai stands in apposition to Jehovah: in these cases the vowels of Elohim are substituted. The use of a simple shewa in the first syllable of Jehovah, instead of the compound shewa in the corresponding syllable of Adonai and Elohim, is required by the rules of Hebrew grammar governing the use of Shewa” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VIII, p. 329).

“Jehovah, an erroneous pronunciation of the name of the God of Israel in the Bible, due to pronouncing the vowels of the term ‘Adonay,’ the marginal Masoretic reading with the consonants of the text-reading ‘Yahweh,’ which was not uttered to avoid the profanation of the divine name of magical or other blasphemous purposes. Hence the substitution of ‘Adonay,’ the ‘Lord,’ or ‘Adonay Elohim,’ ‘Lord God.’ The oldest Greek versions use the term ‘Kurios,’ ‘Lord,’ the exact translation of the current Jewish substitute for the original Tetragrammaton Yahweh. The reading ‘Jehovah’ can be traced to the early Middle Ages and until lately was said to have been invented by Peter Gallatin (1518), confessor of Pope Leo X. Recent writers, however, trace it to an earlier date; it is found in Raymond Martin’s Pugeo Fidei (1270)” (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 16, p. 8.).

“The personal name of the [El] of the Israelites …The Masoretes, Jewish biblical scholars of the Middle Ages, replaced the vowel signs that had appeared above or beneath the consonants of YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or of Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Yahweh, Micropedia, vol. 10).

“In the Hebrew Bible the Jews wrote the consonants of the Tetragrammaton as YHWH, but out of reverence for the sacred name of God (or out of fear of violating Exod. 20:7; Lev. 24:16), they vocalized and pronounced it as Adonai or occasionally as Elohim.  It is unfortunate, then, that the name was transliterated into German and ultimately into English as Jehovah (which is the way the name is represented in the American Standard Version of 1901), for this conflate form represents the vowels of Adonai superimposed on the consonants of Yahweh, and it was never intended by the Jews to be read as Yehowah (or Jehovah)” (The Making of a Contemporary Translation, p. 107).

“Jehovah in that form was unknown to the ancient Israelites.  In fact, Hebrew scholars say that Jehovah would have been impossible according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization.  The God of Israel was known by a name approximately rendered into English as Yahweh,” (A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, p. 247).

“Although the meaning of the name remains subject to debate, Yahweh is most likely a verbal form of Heb. haya (perhaps originally hwy)…Because of the utmost sanctity ascribed to the name, Jews from postexilic times on have declined to pronounce it in public reading, and only the consonants were written (YHWH; the Dead Sea Scrolls use the archaic, ‘paleo-Hebrew’ script).  Although the original pronunciation was thus eventually lost, inscriptional evidence favors yahwae or yahwe.  The name is represented in the MT by the consonants with the vowel pointing for ‘adonay ‘Lord.’  From this derived ca, the sixteenth century the form ‘Jehovah’ (yehowah).  In modern usage pious Jews often substitute the expression has-sem ‘the Name,” (The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Allen C. Myers, Ed., “Yahweh,” p. 1075).

For additional information on Yehovah, read The Yehovah Deception.

Also, watch our video, 7 Reasons the Name YEHOVAH Is a Counterfeit!


 

the Millennium

I don’t understand why you would refer to Greek documents to prove Yahweh when the Hebrew manuscripts support Yehovah.

Q.   I don’t understand why you would refer to Greek documents to prove Yahweh when the Hebrew manuscripts support Yehovah. The Greek language is pagan and unreliable in such matters. Can you explain your refusal to accept the Hebrew?

A.   We are not opposed to any language if truth can be learned, especially the Hebrew language. Being that Hebrew is the original language of the Old Testament and possibly for the New Testament, there is something special about the Hebrew language.

The challenge with supporting the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton from the Hebrew is that the Jews stopped pronouncing the name around the 3rd century BCE. This is supported by the Britannica and Babylonian Talmud.

“After the Babylonian Exile (6th century BCE), and especially from the 3rd century bce on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal rather than merely local religion, the more common noun Elohim, meaning ‘God,’ tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (‘My Lord’), which was translated as Kyrios (‘Lord’) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures,” Encyclopedia Britannica.

“Tosaf Sotah 38a suggests that the Ineffable Name could be pronounced only when there was some indication that the Shechinah rested on the Sanctuary. When Simeon the Righteous died, with many indications that such glory was no more enjoyed, his brethren no more dared utter the Ineffable Name,” Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 39b, footnote, p. 186.

Because of this reluctance to pronounce the name, it is now impossible to confirm it through the Old Testament Hebrew. Prior to the Masoretes, Hebrew had no spoken vowels, as confirmed in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Later, it was the practice of the Masoretes to conceal the pronunciation of the name through the vowel points of Adonai and Elohim. For this reason, the Hebrew is unreliable regarding the proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. In fact, there are multiple pronunciations for YHWH within the Masoretic codices. Below are six different spellings as found within the Leningrad Codex.

יְהוָה – Yehwah (Genesis 2:4)
יְהֹוָה – Yehowah (Genesis 3:14)
יֱהֹוִה – Yehowih (Judges 16:28)
יֱהוִה – Yehuwih (Genesis 15:2)
יְהֹוִה – Yehowih (1Kings 2:26)
יְהוִה – Yehwih (Ezekiel 24:24)

However, unlike the Hebrew manuscripts, we find many Greek documents confirming the pronunciation. The two main sources are from early Church Fathers and Gnostic writings from as early as the 2nd century. Consider the following:

“The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh’” (Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).

“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” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. x, p. 786).

“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 p. 478).

“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,” p. 471).

In addition to early church writers, evidence for Yahweh is also found in The Nag Hammadi codices, dating from the 2nd to 4th century CE. This library of Gnostic writings was discovered in Upper Egypt, near Nag Hammadi, in 1945. In all, there are over 50 texts within this library. Since they are in Greek, as the church fathers, they preserve the pronunciation.

One such book is The Secret Book of John. Within this codex, it mentions the name Yahweh and notes, “Eloim and Yawe, two names of God in the Hebrew scriptures…. Yahweh is the name of God (based on the Tetragrammaton, the ineffable four-letter name)” (Dr. Marvin Meyer, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 127).

The Secret Book of John dates to the second century, as it was known to the church father Irenaeus. This was the same timeframe as Clement of Alexandria, who also confirmed the name. Even though Gnosticism was rightly deemed heretical by the early church, it is another witness to the pronunciation of Yahweh. The fact that these groups were at odds, but agreed on “Yahweh,” is significant and adds credence to this pronunciation. It verifies that “Yahweh” was widely recognized as early as the second century, nearly 700 years before any Hebrew manuscripts containing Yehovah.

It’s important to realize that unlike the Jews who had a taboo on pronouncing the name, neither the church fathers nor Gnostics shared this belief. For this reason, they had no axe to grind and are reliable sources for the pronunciation of the name, which they confirm as “Yahweh.”

For additional information on Yehovah, see our article: The Yehovah Deception.

Also, watch 7 Reasons the Name YEHOVAH Is a Counterfeit!

the Millennium

I agree that His name is YHWH, but my question is, why does Strong’s transliterate it “yehôvâh”?

Q.   I agree that His name is YHWH, but my question is, why does Strong’s transliterate it “yehôvâh”?

A.   Great question. Strong’s renders the name based on the Masoretic vowel points. Since the vowel points are taken from Adonai, it transliterates to Yehovah. Not realizing this, early translators of the Bible rendered this name “Jehovah,” based on these added vowel points.

Historically, many Jews stopped pronouncing the name after the 3rd century, BCE. The Encyclopedia Britannica and Jewish Talmud testify to this fact:

“After the Babylonian Exile (6th century BCE), and especially from the 3rd century bce on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal rather than merely local religion, the more common noun Elohim, meaning ‘God,’ tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (‘My Lord’), which was translated as Kyrios (‘Lord’) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures,” Encyclopedia Britannica.

“Tosaf Sotah 38a suggests that the Ineffable Name could be pronounced only when there was some indication that the Shechinah rested on the Sanctuary. When Simeon the Righteous died, with many indications that such glory was no more enjoyed, his brethren no more dared utter the Ineffable Name,” Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 39b, footnote, p. 186.

As explained above, the Jews avoided using the name Yahweh by employing the vowel points from Adonai. Interestingly, where Adonai and the Tetragrammaton appeared in close proximity, they would also often use the vowel points from Elohim. Strong’s makes note of this in OT:3069, where it renders YHWH as “Yehovih” and states, “a variation of OT:3068 [used after OT:136, and pronounced by Jews as OT:430, in order to prevent the repetition of the same sound, since they elsewhere pronounce OT:3068 as OT:136.”

This provides conclusive proof that the Jews tampered with the vowel points of the Tetragrammaton. This was due to their insistence that the actual pronunciation was too holy to pronounce. Therefore, to prevent this, they concealed the name by artificially adding the vowel points from Adonai and Elohim to YHWH. By doing this, the reader would know to read Adonai or Elohim instead of Yahweh. Only later did some begin incorrectly pronouncing the name with the added vowel points.

According to Professor Steven Fassberg, who received his PhD from Harvard and teaches Hebrew at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “The pronunciation you mentioned [i.e., Yehovah] is a mistake. The Hebrew consonantal text is YHWH and no one really knows how that was pronounced in Old Testament times. At a later date (the latter half of the 2nd millennium CE) Masoretes added vowel signs to the consonantal text. Whenever the Tetragrammaton was written, they added the vowel signs of the word ‘Adonay,’ which means ‘My Lord’ – there was a taboo on pronouncing the Divine name and one was supposed to read the word ‘Adonay – my Lord.’ Much later some started reading the vowel signs together with YHWH and came up with the nonsensical word Jehovah” (email correspondence between YRM and Professor Fassberg).

In addition to Strong’s and Professor Fassberg, nearly all other biblical scholars confirm that Yehovah, often spelled Jehovah, was derived from the vowel points from Adonai. Consider the following references:

“In the early Middle Ages, when the consonantal text of the Bible was supplied with vowel points to facilitate its correct traditional reading, the vowel points for Adonai with one variation – a sheva (short ‘e’) with the first yod [Y] of YHWH instead of the hataf-patah (short ‘a’) under the aleph of Adonai – was used for YHWH, thus producing the form YeHoWaH. When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name ‘Jehovah’” (Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).

“Jehovah, modern form of the Hebrew sacred name of God, probably originally ‘Yahweh.’ From c.300 B.C. the Jews, from motives of piety, uttered the name of God very rarely and eventually not at all, but substituted the title ‘Adonai,’ meaning ‘Lord,’ the vowels of which were written under the consonants of ‘Yahweh.’ In the Middle Ages and later, the vowels of one word with the consonants of the other were misread as Jehovah” (The Collegiate Encyclopedia, vol. 9, p. 580).

“Jehovah….What has been said explains the so-called qeri perpetuum, according to which the consonants of Jehovah are always accompanied in the Hebrew text by the vowels of Adonai except in the cases in which Adonai stands in apposition to Jehovah: in these cases the vowels of Elohim are substituted. The use of a simple shewa in the first syllable of Jehovah, instead of the compound shewa in the corresponding syllable of Adonai and Elohim, is required by the rules of Hebrew grammar governing the use of Shewa” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VIII, p. 329).

“Jehovah, an erroneous pronunciation of the name of the God of Israel in the Bible, due to pronouncing the vowels of the term ‘Adonay,’ the marginal Masoretic reading with the consonants of the text-reading ‘Yahweh,’ which was not uttered to avoid the profanation of the divine name of magical or other blasphemous purposes. Hence the substitution of ‘Adonay,’ the ‘Lord,’ or ‘Adonay Elohim,’ ‘Lord God.’ The oldest Greek versions use the term ‘Kurios,’ ‘Lord,’ the exact translation of the current Jewish substitute for the original Tetragrammaton Yahweh. The reading ‘Jehovah’ can be traced to the early Middle Ages and until lately was said to have been invented by Peter Gallatin (1518), confessor of Pope Leo X. Recent writers, however, trace it to an earlier date; it is found in Raymond Martin’s Pugeo Fidei (1270)” (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 16, p. 8.).

“The personal name of the [El] of the Israelites …The Masoretes, Jewish biblical scholars of the Middle Ages, replaced the vowel signs that had appeared above or beneath the consonants of YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or of Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Yahweh, Micropedia, vol. 10).

“In the Hebrew Bible the Jews wrote the consonants of the Tetragrammaton as YHWH, but out of reverence for the sacred name of God (or out of fear of violating Exod. 20:7; Lev. 24:16), they vocalized and pronounced it as Adonai or occasionally as Elohim.  It is unfortunate, then, that the name was transliterated into German and ultimately into English as Jehovah (which is the way the name is represented in the American Standard Version of 1901), for this conflate form represents the vowels of Adonai superimposed on the consonants of Yahweh, and it was never intended by the Jews to be read as Yehowah (or Jehovah)” (The Making of a Contemporary Translation, p. 107).

“Jehovah in that form was unknown to the ancient Israelites.  In fact, Hebrew scholars say that Jehovah would have been impossible according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization.  The God of Israel was known by a name approximately rendered into English as Yahweh,” (A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, p. 247).

“Although the meaning of the name remains subject to debate, Yahweh is most likely a verbal form of Heb. haya (perhaps originally hwy)…Because of the utmost sanctity ascribed to the name, Jews from postexilic times on have declined to pronounce it in public reading, and only the consonants were written (YHWH; the Dead Sea Scrolls use the archaic, ‘paleo-Hebrew’ script).  Although the original pronunciation was thus eventually lost, inscriptional evidence favors yahwae or yahwe.  The name is represented in the MT by the consonants with the vowel pointing for ‘adonay ‘Lord.’  From this derived ca, the sixteenth century the form ‘Jehovah’ (yehowah).  In modern usage pious Jews often substitute the expression has-sem ‘the Name,” (The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Allen C. Myers, Ed., “Yahweh,” p. 1075).

“The scribes reasoned that if they did not point the name Yahweh then it could never be treated lightly since his name would not really be known.  Initially the real pointing was probably passed along by tradition, but in time it was lost.  In Exodus 20:7 the name Lord is written in capital letters according to the convention of signifying the name Yahweh, but the name as it appears in the Hebrew text is hwhy (yehowa), in which appear the consonants from the name Yahweh (hwhy [yhwh]) and the vowels from the word Lord (ynda [‘idonay]).  Proof for the fabricated nature of this word are the two vowels which appear on the waw, an impossibility in Hebrew.  However, until the revival of the Hebrew language in western Europe scholars read the consonants YHWH (Germans would read them as JHVH) with the vowels of ‘adonay, thereby originating the incorrect form Jehovah.  This word was then introduced into English by William Tyndale and was continued by the King James Version,” (The Journey from Texts to Translations, Paul D. Wegner, pp. 172-173).

Based on the above, scholarship verifies that Yehovah (Jehovah) was the result of combining the vowel points from Adonai with the four letters of yod-hey-waw-hey of the Tetragrammaton. Therefore, any attempt to justify Yehovah is to ignore the preponderance of evidence.

For additional information, read our online booklet: The Yehovah Deception.

Also, watch Pastor Randy Folliard’s message, “Exposing the Erroneous Name Yehovah.”

the Millennium

What are the main differences between YRM and Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Q.   What are the main differences between YRM and Jehovah’s Witnesses?

A.  There are several differences between YRM and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The most notable are the names of Yahweh and Yahshua for the Father and Son along with the Sabbath and Feast days.

The Jehovah Witnesses call upon the name Jehovah. While scholarship may have favored this pronunciation many years ago, today nearly all scholars agree that the name is Yahweh. Even the Jehovah Witnesses acknowledge that Yahweh is favored by Hebrew scholars. They state the following in their Insight on the Scriptures, “‘Jehovah’ is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although ‘Yahweh’ is favored by most Hebrew scholars,” vol. 2, pg. 5.

Below are a few additional references on Jehovah:

A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, pg. 247. “Jehovah in that form was unknown to the ancient Israelites. In fact, Hebrew scholars say that Jehovah would have been impossible according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization. The God of Israel was known by a name approximately rendered into English as Yahweh.”

The Journey from Texts to Translations, Paul D. Wegner, pg, 172, 173. “The scribes reasoned that if they did not point the name Yahweh then it could never be treated lightly since his name would not really be known. Initially the real pointing was probably passed along by tradition, but in time it was lost. In Exodus 20:7 the name Lord is written in capital letters according to the convention of signifying the name Yahweh, but the name as it appears in the Hebrew text is hwhy (yehowa), in which appear the consonants from the name Yahweh (hwhy [yhwh]) and the vowels from the word Lord (ynda [‘idonay]). Proof for the fabricated nature of this word are the two vowels which appear on the waw, an impossibility in Hebrew. However, until the revival of the Hebrew language in western Europe scholars read the consonants YHWH (Germans would read them as JHVH) with the vowels of ‘adonay, thereby originating the incorrect form Jehovah. This word was then introduced into English by William Tyndale and was continued by the King James Version.”

Understanding the Old Testament, Bernhard Anderson, “Definition: ‘Jehovah,’ ‘The Lord,’” pg. 61. “The personal divine name YHWH…has had an interesting history. In the Old Testament period the Hebrew language was written only with consonants; vowels were not added until the Common Era, when Hebrew was no longer a living language. On the basis of Greek texts, which of course use both vowels and consonants, it is believed that the original pronunciation of the name was Yahweh. Notice the shortened form of the divine name in the exclamation, ‘Halleluyah’ — ‘Praise Yah.’”

Along with the name Jehovah, another difference is they normally worship on Sunday (although they believe any day is acceptable for worship), while we observe the seventh-day Sabbath, as verified through Scripture. While there are no clear examples of Sunday being observed in the New Testament, the Sabbath is mentioned 60 times. In fact, Yahshua the Messiah and the apostles all observed the Sabbath. In two key passages, we see that it was Paul’s practice to worship and teach on the Sabbath.

“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,” Acts 17:2.

“And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks,” Acts 18:4.

In addition to the New Testament, prophecy shows that the Sabbath will be observed in the coming millennial Kingdom. Consider the following examples:

“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Yahweh,” Isaiah 66:23.

“Thus saith my Sovereign Yahweh; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened,” Ezekiel 46:1.

We find similar evidence for the biblical Feast days. While many believe these days are no longer obligatory, including the Jehovah Witnesses, the New Testament along with prophecy confirms that the apostles observed these days and that they will be observed in the coming Kingdom. Consider the below examples from the New Testament:

Passover

  • “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover” (Luke 2:41).
  • “…Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?” (Luke 22:11).
  • “Now before the feast of the passover, when Yahshua knew that his hour was come…” (John 13:1).
  • “…For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us” (1Corinthians 5:7).

Feast of Unleavened Bread

  • “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread…” (Acts 20:6).
  • “Therefore let us keep the feast…” (1Corinthians 5:8).

Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

  • “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come…” (Acts 2:1).
  • “…for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:16).
  • “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost” (1Corinthians 16:8).

Day of Atonement

  • “…because the fast [Day of Atonement] was now already past…” (Acts 27:9).

Feast of Tabernacles

  • “Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand… In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yahshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:2, 37).

While there are other differences beyond the ones noted, these are the most significant. As believers, proper worship is critical to our walk. It’s paramount that we follow the Bible and not man’s tradition. Even though the Jehovah Witnesses have elements of truth, they are missing key aspects of Scripture.

the Millennium

Why do you spell out the word “God”? Isn’t it synonymous with “Elohim”?

Q.   Why do you spell out the word “God”? You say the word Elohim and isn’t “God” basically the English rendering of Elohim?

A.   Some spell out “God” because of its pagan connection. According to the Britannica, the root of god means, “to pour as a molten image.” Also, according to some scholars, the supreme deity of the Teutonic religion was named and pronounced “God.” To avoid this connection and pronunciation of this word, some will simply spell it out. Below are a few references confirming these associations:

“…and that even where the earlier neuter form is still kept, as in Gothic and Old Norwegian, the construction is masculine…. “God” is a word common to all Teutonic languages. In Gothic it is Guth; Dutch has the same form as English; Danish and Swedish have Gud, German Gott. According to the New English Dictionary, the original may be found in two Aryan roots, both of the form gheu, one of which means ‘to invoke,’ the other ‘to pour’…the last is used of sacrificial offerings. The word would thus mean the object either of religious invocation or of religious worship by sacrifice. It has been also suggested that the word might mean a ‘molten image’ from the sense of ‘pour.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 12, 1911).

“It is much more difficult to trace the Teutonic word, ‘God,’ back to its origin. There is no doubt that the Supreme Being has always been called by this name in all German tongues…. We can only say, therefore, that ‘God’ was probably an old Teutonic word, used long before the introduction of Christianity, to signify either one Supreme Being, or gods in general. Indeed, we find that in the Old Norse, god in the neuter means a grave image, an idol” (Edinburgh Review, vol. XCIV, p. 170).

“In all Teutonic tongues the Supreme Being was always with one consent been called by the general name God…. Some remarkable uses of the word God in our older speech and that of the common people may have a connexion with heathen notions” (Jacob Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, pp. 13, 15, 1882).

the Millennium

Nehemia Gordon, a Karaite Jew, recently made the claim that Yahweh and Jupiter share the same etymology. Is there any truth to this statement?

Q.   Nehemia Gordon, a Karaite Jew, recently made the claim that Yahweh and Jupiter share the same etymology. He bases this on Gesenius’ statement: “I suppose this word to be one of the most remote antiquity, perhaps of the same origin as Jovis, Jupiter, and transferred from the Egyptians to the Hebrews.” Is there any truth to this statement?

A.   While Gesenius made this statement, indication is he later retracted it. Consider the below excerpts:

“To give my own opinion [This opinion Gesenius afterwards THOROUGHLY retracted; see Thes. and Amer. trans. in voc.: he calls such comparisons and derivations, ‘waste of time and labour;’ would that he had learned how irreverend a mode this was of treating such subject!], I suppose this word to be one of the most remote antiquity, perhaps of the same origin as Jovis, Jupiter, and transferred from the Egyptians to the Hebrews [What an idea! God himself revealed this as his own name; the Israelites could never have received it from the Egyptians].  (Compare what has been said above, as to the use of this name on the Egyptian gems [but these gems are not of the most remote antiquity; they are the work of heretics of the second and third centuries]), and then so inflected by the Hebrews, that it might appear, both in form and origin, to be Phenicio-Shemiti” (Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, p. 23).

“In There is one other remark before quitting this chapter.  We have seen that the principal part of the Jehovistic ideas in this second portion of Dr. Colenso’s work are taken from the articles on that subject in the lexicon of Gesenius.  We shall now see that Gesenius is responsible for some part of Dr. Colenso’s new belief.  The Bishop writes as follows: –‘My own conviction, however, from the accumulated evidence (!) of various kinds before us is, that Samuel was the first to form and introduce the name, perhaps in imitation of some Egyptian name of the Deity which may have reached his ears.’  Gesenius wrote before him:  ‘I suppose this word to be one of the most remote antiquity, perhaps of the same origin as Jovis, Jupiter, and transferred from the Egyptians to the Hebrews’ (see Lex. p. 337).

“This opinion, as we have shown, Gesenius afterward thoroughly retracted, probably through having become convinced that the Egyptian Gems on which it was founded were the work of heretics of the second and third centuries.  Bishop Colenso, however, adopts the discarded opinion of Gesenius, and parades it as his own.  We think he might at least have had the candour to acknowledge from whence it was obtained”  (The Bible in the Workshop, Part II, p.  95).

“The name Yahweh is explained by some as being connected etymologically with the Indo-Aryan ‘Jovis.’ It is, then, derived from [delta, iota, upsilon] “to shine,” hence Yahweh would signify the ‘bright ether.’ This name is also declared to be ideally, though not etymologically, related to ‘daeva,’ ‘deus.’  Thus the name would signify the ‘High One,’ the ‘Heavenly.’  But there is so little common to both languages of which we can speak with any degree of certainty that we cannot think of deriving [Yahweh] from the Indo-Aryan stem [delta, iota, upsilon].  The untenableness of this derivation was already recognized by F. Tuch, who says:  ‘The similarity of [Yahweh] with Jovis, Jupiter, which is insufficient enough in itself, disappears entirely when the name is pronounced rightly [Yahweh] = Jahve.'”    (Hans H. Spoer, The Origin and Interpretation of the Tetragrammaton, pp. 7, 8)

According to the above scholarly references, Gesenius withdrew his statement regarding the possible connection between Yahweh and Jupiter. In addition, Spoer further explains that these words share so little in common that this connection disappears entirely.

It should also be noted that Gesenius used the words “suppose” and “perhaps” in his initial statement. These words convey that while he believed there may have been a possible connection, such a conclusion could not be authenticated based on the evidence.

Therefore, to state that Gesenius asserts an undeniable and certain connection between Yahweh and Jupiter is quite disingenuous, especially with the fact that there is indication that Gesenius thoroughly retracted this statement along with other scholars confirming that there is so little in common between the origins of these words.

For additional information on Yahweh’s Name, please see the below articles:

Literary Support for Yahweh’s Name
Your Father’s Name
The Yehovah Deception 

Also, watch the below videos:

 

the Millennium

We know that Abraham knew Yahweh’s name. Genesis 22:14 states, “And Abraham called the name of that place YAHWEH Yireh.” However, Exodus 6:3 says, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai, and by My name YAHWEH have I not been known to them” How do we reconcile these passages?

Q.   We know that Abraham knew Yahweh’s name. Genesis 22:14 states, “And Abraham called the name of that place YAHWEH Yireh.” However, Exodus 6:3 says, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai, and by My name YAHWEH have I not been known to them” How do we reconcile these passages?

A.   Exodus 6:3 is not stating that the patriarchs did not know Yahweh’s name, as we have many examples of them calling on Yahweh’s Name. In addition to the example you provided in Genesis 22:14, we also have the below passages confirming that they were well aware of Yahweh’s Name:

  • “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of Yahweh” (Genesis 4:26).
  • “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto Yahweh, and called upon the name of Yahweh” (Genesis 12:8).
  • “Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of Yahweh” (Genesis 13:4).
  • “And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the everlasting El” (Genesis 21:33).

Based on the above passage, there’s no doubt that Abraham and the other patriarchs knew and used Yahweh’s Name.

With this being the case, how do we explain Exodus 6:3? There are two schools of thought as to the meaning of this passage. The first explanation is that the patriarchs did not experience the power behind Yahweh’s Name as Israel would in Egypt. It’s important to remember that Yahweh’s Name not only identifies His identity, but also His character and power. The other explanation is that this passage should be viewed as a question and not a statement. In other words, it might be better read, “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, and by my name Yahweh was I not known to them?”

In closing here is a note that will be included within the 4th ed. of the Restoration Study Bible: “This is not stating that the Name ‘Yahweh’ was unknown to the patriarchs. Scripture states that the patriarchs called upon Yahweh’s Name (Gen. 12:8). There are two possible explanations. One, this was written as a rhetorical question, which would then require a question mark at the end of the verse. Biblical Hebrew contains no punctuation; it was added later by translators. Two, the patriarchs did not understand the Name, as representing His character and power, as did Moses and the Israelites after witnessing their deliverance from Egypt. The NIV note says, ‘This does not necessarily mean that the patriarchs were totally ignorant of the name Yahweh, but it indicates that they did not understand its full implications as the name of the One who would redeem His people. That fact could be comprehended only by the Israelites who were to experience the Exodus, and by their descendants.’ A similar interpretation is found from author Kenneth L. Barker in his book, Making of a Contemporary Translation: ‘A problem has been imagined in Exodus 6:3 because of the words “by my name the Lord (Yahweh) I did not make myself known to them (i.e., the patriarchs).” Yet there are several references to Yahweh in the patriarchal narratives and earlier (e.g., Gen. 2:4; 4:26; 13:4; 15:7) and in the names like Jochebed (Exod. 6:20), apparently meaning “The Lord (Yahweh) is glory.” Kidner points the way to one solution: “In ex 3:14 the divine exposition, ‘I am …’ introduces and illuminates the name given in 3:15, and this remains the context for 6:3 as well… The name, in short was first known, in any full sense of the word, at its first expounding.’ See Jer. 16:21, Ezek. 20:5. Men in general began to call upon the Name Yahweh after Enos, the son of Seth (Gen. 4:26).”

the Millennium

Nehemia Gordon, a Karaite Jew, has now discovered over 1,000 manuscripts with the proper pronunciation Yehovah. Considering this newfound evidence, why do you continue to use Yahweh?

Q.    Nehemia Gordon, a Karaite Jew, has now discovered over 1,000 manuscripts with the proper pronunciation Yehovah. Considering this newfound evidence, why do you continue to use Yahweh?

A.    There are several facts to acknowledge regarding Nehemia Gordon’s “new” finding. To begin with, all these Hebrew documents with the vowel points forming Yehovah are from the 9th century or later and part of the Masoretic manuscripts. According to the overwhelming majority of scholarship, the Masoretes purposefully added the vowel points from Adonai to the Tetragrammaton, forming the hybrid Yehovah (also rendered as Yehowah or Jehovah). In the history of the Ministry, we have actually never seen a scholarly reference confirming Yehovah.

Consider the following: “In the early Middle Ages, when the consonantal text of the Bible was supplied with vowel points to facilitate its correct traditional reading, the vowel points for Adonai with one variation – a sheva (short ‘e’) with the first yod [Y] of YHWH instead of the hataf-patah (short ‘a’) under the aleph of Adonai – was used for YHWH, thus producing the form YeHoWaH. When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name ‘Jehovah’” (Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).

“Jehovah, modern form of the Hebrew sacred name of God, probably originally ‘Yahweh.’ From c.300 B.C. the Jews, from motives of piety, uttered the name of God very rarely and eventually not at all, but substituted the title ‘Adonai,’ meaning ‘Lord,’ the vowels of which were written under the consonants of ‘Yahweh.’ In the Middle Ages and later, the vowels of one word with the consonants of the other were misread as Jehovah” (The Collegiate Encyclopedia, vol. 9, p. 580).

“Jehovah….What has been said explains the so-called qeri perpetuum, according to which the consonants of Jehovah are always accompanied in the Hebrew text by the vowels of Adonai except in the cases in which Adonai stands in apposition to Jehovah: in these cases the vowels of Elohim are substituted. The use of a simple shewa in the first syllable of Jehovah, instead of the compound shewa in the corresponding syllable of Adonai and Elohim, is required by the rules of Hebrew grammar governing the use of Shewa” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VIII, p. 329).

“Jehovah, an erroneous pronunciation of the name of the God of Israel in the Bible, due to pronouncing the vowels of the term ‘Adonay,’ the marginal Masoretic reading with the consonants of the text-reading ‘Yahweh,’ which was not uttered to avoid the profanation of the divine name of magical or other blasphemous purposes. Hence the substitution of ‘Adonay,’ the ‘Lord,’ or ‘Adonay Elohim,’ ‘Lord God.’ The oldest Greek versions use the term ‘Kurios,’ ‘Lord,’ the exact translation of the current Jewish substitute for the original Tetragrammaton Yahweh. The reading ‘Jehovah’ can be traced to the early Middle Ages and until lately was said to have been invented by Peter Gallatin (1518), confessor of Pope Leo X. Recent writers, however, trace it to an earlier date; it is found in Raymond Martin’s Pugeo Fidei (1270)” (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 16, p. 8.).

“The pronunciation you mentioned [i.e., Yehovah] is a mistake. The Hebrew consonantal text is YHWH and no one really knows how that was pronounced in Old Testament times. At a later date (the latter half of the 2nd millennium CE) Masoretes added vowel signs to the consonantal text. Whenever the Tetragrammaton was written, they added the vowel signs of the word “Adonay,” which means “My Lord” – there was a taboo on pronouncing the Divine name and one was supposed to read the word “Adonay – my Lord.” Much later some started reading the vowel signs together with YHWH and came up with the nonsensical word Jehovah” (email correspondence between Professor Fassberg and Pastor Randy Folliard). Note: Professor Fassberg, Ph.D., is one of the leading professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem within its Hebrew language department.

In addition to the fact that scholarship nearly universally confirms that the Masoretes added the vowel points from Adonai to the Tetragrammaton, another issue with Yehovah is that there are other variants based on the vowel pointing within the Masoretic manuscripts. For example, the Leningrad Codex contains at least six different spellings for the divine name. Similar evidence can also be found within the Aleppo and other codices. The fact that we find different pronunciations within the Masoretic manuscripts confirms that they cannot be trusted.

Another issue with Yehovah and this claim of a 1,000 manuscripts is that the pronunciation Yahweh is confirmed within Greek documents from church fathers and Gnostic writings 700 years before the Masoretic documents.

One such example from the Gnostic library is The Secret Book of John. Within this codex, it mentions the name Yahweh and notes, “Eloim and Yawe, two names of God in the Hebrew scriptures…. Yahweh is the name of God (based on the Tetragrammaton, the ineffable four-letter name)” (Dr. Marvin Meyer, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 127).

The Secret Book of John dates to the second century, as it was known to the church father Irenaeus. This was the same timeframe as Clement of Alexandria, who also confirmed the name. Even though Gnosticism was rightly deemed heretical by the early church, it is another witness to the pronunciation of Yahweh. The fact that these groups were at odds, but agreed on “Yahweh,” is significant and adds credence to this pronunciation. It verifies that “Yahweh” was widely recognized as early as the second century.

Evidence for the short form “Yah” is also found in early Greek documents of the Septuagint, part of the Dead Sea collection, dating to 1 BCE.

Based on these facts, the number of manuscripts found with the vowel points of Yehovah is irrelevant. Scholarship confirms that Yehovah is a hybrid that arose through the vowel points of Adonai. Additionally, antiquity confirms the pronunciation Yahweh through Greek inscriptions dating back to the 2nd century CE, 700 years before any manuscript containing Yehovah.

For additional information, read our online article: The Yehovah Deception.

Also, watch our videos:

Why do you use the name Yahweh? Don’t you know that this name was invented by a Catholic monk in 1725 AD?

YHWH     Why do you use the name Yahweh? Don’t you know that this name was invented by a Catholic monk in 1725 AD? Plus, there are 20 different ways our Heavenly Father’s name can be pronounced.

 

YHWH     The belief that “Yahweh” originated from a Catholic monk could not be further from the truth. This statement can be proven false with a simple Google search. The official website of the Catholic Church states: “About the 13th century the term ‘Jehovah’ appeared when Christian scholars took the consonants of ‘Yahweh’ and pronounced it with the vowels of ‘Adonai.’ This resulted in the sound ‘Yahowah,’ which has a Latinized spelling of ‘Jehovah.’ The first recorded use of this spelling was made by a Spanish Dominican monk, Raymundus Martini, in 1270” (www.catholic.com/qa/is-gods-name-yahweh-or-jehovah).

From this citation, it was not “Yahweh” that was originated by a Catholic monk, but the hybrid “Jehovah,” arising from Yehowah or Yehovah.  Additionally, scholarship overwhelmingly confirms “Yahweh” as the likely pronunciation. Evidence for this is found in ancient inscriptions dating back to the second century of the Common Era, including early church fathers and gnostic sources. Following are other sources attesting to the correctness of “Yahweh.”

“The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh’” (Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).

“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” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. x, p. 786).

“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 p. 478).

“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,” p. 471)

In addition to early Christian sources, evidence for Yahweh is also found in the Nag Hammadi codices, dating from the 2nd to 4th century CE. This library of Gnostic writings was discovered in Upper Egypt, near Nag Hammadi, in 1945. In all, there are over 50 texts within this library. Since they are in Greek, as with the church fathers, they preserve the pronunciation.

One such book is The Secret Book of John. This codex mentions the name Yahweh and notes, “Eloim and Yawe, two names of God in the Hebrew scriptures…. Yahweh is the name of God (based on the Tetragrammaton, the ineffable four-letter name)” (Dr. Marvin Meyer, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 127).

The Secret Book of John, as it was known to the church father Irenaeus, dates to the second century. This was the same time-frame as Clement of Alexandria, who also confirmed the name. Even though gnosticism was rightly deemed heretical by the early church, it is another witness to the pronunciation of Yahweh. The fact that these groups were at odds, but agreed on “Yahweh,” is significant and adds credence to this pronunciation. It verifies that “Yahweh” was widely recognized as early as the second century, nearly 700 years before any Hebrew manuscripts containing Yehovah.

Based on these ancient inscriptions, modern scholarship also favors Yahweh as the proper and correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton:

“Correct pronunciation of the Divine Name. ‘Jehovah’ is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although ‘Yahweh’ is favored by most Hebrew scholars.  The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek te∙tra-, meaning ‘four,’ and gram’ma, ‘letter’).  These four letters (written from right to left) are yhwh and may be transliterated into English as YHWH (or, JHVH)” (“Jehovah,” Insight on the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988.  vol. 2, p. 5).

Insight on the Scriptures is a Jehovah’s Witness publication. Even though this organization continues to use the hybrid “Jehovah,” they have no choice but to acknowledge that “Yahweh” is favored by Hebrew scholars. Considering that the name of our Heavenly Father comes to us through the Hebrew language, this point is significant.

“Jehovah in that form was unknown to the ancient Israelites.  In fact, Hebrew scholars say that Jehovah would have been impossible according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization.  The God of Israel was known by a name approximately rendered into English as Yahweh” (A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, p. 247).

“Yahweh was doubtless the approximate pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, the four-letter word YHWH, since transliterations into Gr. in early Christian literature have been found in the form of iaoue (Clement of Alexander) and iahe (Theodoret) pronounced ‘iave.’  The name is a variant connected with the verb haya, ‘to be,’ from an earlier form, hawa” (“God, Names and Titles of,”  Wycliff Bible Dictionary, Charles Pfeiffer, Ed., p. 694).

“The Bible often refers to God by his proper name, which was probably pronounced Yahweh …In the Hebrew Bible, the consonants hwhy [yhwh] are usually to be read as Adonai…’my Lord,’ for the sake of reverence, and English versions represent the word by ‘Lord’ or (less often) ‘God’ in capital letters” (“Names of God in the Hebrew Bible,” Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger, Ed., p. 548).

“Although the meaning of the name remains subject to debate, Yahweh is most likely a verbal form of Heb. haya (perhaps originally hwy)…Because of the utmost sanctity ascribed to the name, Jews from postexilic times on have declined to pronounce it in public reading, and only the consonants were written (YHWH; the Dead Sea Scrolls use the archaic, ‘paleo-Hebrew’ script).  Although the original pronunciation was thus eventually lost, inscriptional evidence favors yahwae or yahwe.  The name is represented in the MT by the consonants with the vowel pointing for ‘adonay ‘Lord.’  From this derived ca, the sixteenth century the form ‘Jehovah’ (yehowah).  In modern usage pious Jews often substitute the expression has-sem ‘the Name’” (“Yahweh,” The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger, Ed., p. 1075).

“The scribes reasoned that if they did not point the name Yahweh then it could never be treated lightly since his name would not really be known.  Initially the real pointing was probably passed along by tradition, but in time it was lost.  In Exodus 20:7 the name Lord is written in capital letters according to the convention of signifying the name Yahweh, but the name as it appears in the Hebrew text is hwhy (yehowa), in which appear the consonants from the name Yahweh (hwhy [yhwh]) and the vowels from the word Lord (ynda [‘idonay]).  Proof for the fabricated nature of this word are the two vowels which appear on the waw, an impossibility in Hebrew.  However, until the revival of the Hebrew language in western Europe scholars read the consonants YHWH (Germans would read them as JHVH) with the vowels of ‘adonay, thereby originating the incorrect form Jehovah.  This word was then introduced into English by William Tyndale and was continued by the King James Version” (The Journey from Texts to Translations, Paul D. Wegner, pp, 172-173).

There are many other scholarly sources supporting that the name of our Heavenly Father is Yahweh. A belief that “Yahweh” arose through a Catholic monk is completely counter to ancient and modern scholarship and should be dismissed by the student of the Bible.

For More info on Yahweh’s Name please check out our post: Literary Support For Yahweh’s Name

Please take a moment to complete our short survey. We appreciate your time and value your feedback.