Do you want a personal relationship with the one you worship?” the evangelist bellowed to the crowd. “Do you want to know Him intimately and receive His blessings?” The crowd goes wild. “Then ask God to come into your heart.”
Hold on a minute. What’s wrong with this scene? How can you have a personal relationship with a generic label? Doesn’t closeness begin with a personal name? The Apostle Paul wrote, “For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’,” 1Corinthians 8:5 (ESV). Even Satan is referred to by the common term “god”! Paul wrote, “…in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving…” 2Corinthians 4:4.
Using the same designation for our Creator that is used for the evil one, as well for false deities of the pagans, presents serious issues. Replacing His Name with a common title is identity theft.
The Third Commandment is explicit about the necessity of His true Name in our worship. “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” The word vain is the Hebrew shoaw and means emptiness, worthlessness, waste, ruin. Removal of His name brings it to a state of ruin and desolation.
To distinguish the Heavenly Father from other so-called deities, those who refuse to call on His Name are forced to add qualifying descriptions like “the great god,” and “the one and only true god.” By its very nature a title must be buttressed with many adjectives in order to nail down exactly who you mean. But a personal name easily solves this identity problem, and of course is entirely appropriate as well. He commands His people to call on His revealed, personal Name.
It should be obvious that the title “god” is a broad-spectrum, general term and is not capable of individual identification. Capitalizing it doesn’t change that.
We would have the same problem if every man in the world had his name replaced with the title “Mr.” Imagine this conversation: “Give this to Mr. for me, would you?”
“Uh, which Mr. do you mean? There are millions of them.”
“You know, the one true Mr., the only genuine Mr.”
Does this make sense?
The obvious purpose of a name is to distinguish one individual from another. That should go without saying, yet how many think about that simple fact when it comes to their Heavenly Father? They have been taught to call Him by a generic label, which He Himself says is unacceptable.
It is amazing that all religions are known by the name of the one worshiped … except Christianity. Anciently the god of the Akkadians was Marduk; the god of the Ammonites was Moloch; the god of the Greeks was Zeus; the god of the Romans was Jupiter; the god of the Moabites was Baal-peor; The god of the Muslims is Allah, and the god of the Christians is…God? Using a nondescript, indefinite, impersonal, nonidentifying title does not identify the One you worship! Capitalizing that title doesn’t turn it into a name, no more than capitalizing the title “mister” does.
By removing His Name from our Bibles and our worship we denigrate Him and bring Him down to the lowest common denominator. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary explains: “[His] name reveals his character and salvation in which people may take refuge (Ps. 20:1; cf. Isa. 25:1, 56:6); to treat [His] name as empty is to despise his person (Ex. 20:7),” p. 747.
His One and Only Name
What then is the revealed, personal Name of the Creator of the universe as established in the Bible?
We’ll let Him tell us. In Isaiah 42:8 He said, “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my honor will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” He makes it crystal clear that He expects us to call on His personal Name Yahweh, which separates Him from the world of idols. He says that when you hear my Name that you will know it is I. When using His personal Name you don’t need to define who you mean. It is His personal identity. His Name tells it all. It also distinguishes His people when they call on Him in His Name.
In Isaiah 52:6 Yahweh thunders, “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.”
The prophet said in Micah 4:5, “For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of Yahweh our Elohim for ever and ever.” In other words, all the other religions have a name for the one they worship, and so does the true one.
The Name “Yahweh” is becoming more widely known and acknowledged as His genuine Name. Theologians along with the general public are starting to catch up with Bible scholarship, textual proof, and historical fact, all of which reveal the truth of the Name Yahweh.
In this booklet we will show why His Name is Yahweh and His Son’s Name is Yahshua by using source manuscripts, scholarship, linguistics, etymology, and archaeology.
Coming to know His revealed, personal name is one of those gratifying “Ah-ha” moments that make you say, “Yes, of course, that makes perfect sense. Why wasn’t I told this before?” When He refers to His Name, He means His literal Name, not a common title or generic stamp. To those who say He has many names, Yahweh inspired this response, “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is YAHWEH, are the most high over all the earth,” Psalm 83:18.
Those other “names” that some may cite are just adjectives added to His Name to describe some aspect of Him, like Yahweh-Yireh (Yahweh will provide), Yahweh-Nissi (Yahweh my banner), Yahweh-Sabaoth (Yahweh of hosts), and Yahweh Zidkenu (Yahweh our righteousness). Other so-called “names” are just titles, like “Elohim,” “Lord,” and “Adonai.”
The Name Yahweh is from the Hebrew verb of existence hayah, meaning “I am.” Some scholars say it also means I will be whatever I want to be or need to be. He explained His Name and its significance in Exodus 3. In verse 15 He told Moses that His Name was a memorial to all generations. Memorial in Hebrew (zakar) means to mark, remember, mention.
Yahweh causes all things to exist, including us human beings, He is the self-existent One. He causes everything in the universe to be and He controls all of it. We exist because He exists. That is who “Yahweh” is.
Jehovah and the Letter J
His true Name Yahweh was cloaked through the centuries by the erroneous “Jehovah.” The name Jehovah is an impossibility because there was never a letter “J” or sound of a J in the Hebrew or Greek languages from which our Bible translations are derived. Not even the early 1611 King James English Bible used the letter J, but employed the letter “I” instead. In Psalm 68:4 it reads, “…extol him that rideth upon the heavens, by his Name IAH…” The letter J came into widespread use only 500 years ago, becoming the newest letter to join the English alphabet. Before its debut, the J had a Y sound and grew out of the vowel “i,” which is why the lower case “j” is dotted like the “i” and was given a hooked tail to distinguish it from the “i.”
The Encyclopedia Americana says, “The form of J was unknown in any alphabet until the 14th century.”
The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, agrees that the J is only a modification of the Latin I and dates back with a separate value only to the 15th century.
Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia (1979 edition), volume 14, page 94 under “J,” states: “J, the tenth letter and seventh consonant in the English alphabet. It is the latest addition to the English script and has been inserted in the alphabet after I, from which it was developed…”
The Jewish Encyclopedia calls the word Jehovah “a philological impossibility.”
The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology says that Jehovah is an erroneous transliteration of the Hebrew name YHWH, “often represented as Yahweh” (1995).
In the preface to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible is the following statement: “The form Jehovah is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name [YHWH] and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word. The sound of Y is represented by J and the sound of W by V, as in Latin. The word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew,” pp. 6-7.
The Moffatt Bible says in the preface about the Jehovah:
“Strictly speaking, this ought to be rendered ‘Yahweh,’ which is familiar to modern readers in the erroneous form of ‘Jehovah.’ Were this a version intended for students of the original, there would be no hesitation whatever in printing ‘Yahweh.’”
The name Jehovah is a synthetic blend. It even has a shocking aspect. The suffix hovah is No. 1943 in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary and has the meaning of “ruin: mischief.” It is another form of No. 1942, havvah, which is translated “calamity, iniquity, mischief, mischievous (thing), naughtiness, naughty, noisome, perverse thing, substance, very wickedness.” Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius says of No. 1943, hovah: “ruin, disaster.” No wonder the Rotherham Bible refers to the name Jehovah as a monstrous hybrid!
Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses acknowledge that the name Jehovah falls short. Their book, “Let Your Name Be Sanctified” freely admits on pages 16 and 18 that Yahweh is the superior translation of the Tetragrammaton.
Read One Way But Spoken Another
In an effort to protect the sacred Name from being pronounced and even profaned, ancient scribes added vowel points (code letters) from the title Adonai (“Lord” in English) to the four letters of His Name, YHWH, thereby prompting the reader to use the substitute term “Adonai” instead of “Yahweh.” Kohlenberger in his introduction to Hebrew-English explains this device as kethib-qere, meaning the name is written one way but is read or pronounced another way.
The Encyclopedia Judaica explains which vowels were used wrongly to transform Yahweh into Jehovah: “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’” (vol. 7, p. 680).
As the Judaica notes, by deliberately inserting the vowel sign for “e” into the first part of the Tetragrammaton, the short form of the Name “Yah” was rendered “Yeh.” Thus, the Jewish Masoretes effectively hid even the short form Yah of the sacred Name. It is this erroneous form “Yeh” that has survived to this day in “Jeh”ovah and most likely enters into the development of the erroneous form of the Son’s name, Je-sus, which we will see later.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Micropedia, vol. 10) corroborates. Under “Yahweh” we read, “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.”
Another authority says this: “The pronunciation Jehovah was unknown until 1520 when it was introduced by [Petrus] Galatinus [Pope Leo X’s confessor] but was contested by Le Mercier, J. Drusius, and L. Capellus as against grammatical and historical propriety,”Emphasized Bible, Rotherham, p. 24.
(To learn more about the Hebrew alphabet and the practice of vowel pointing see “Hebrew Articulation” preceding Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary.)
The Reason for Hiding the Sacred Name
Why was His Name Yahweh avoided and hidden for millennia? Jewish religious leaders had an ultra-pious interpretation of Leviticus 24:16, which commanded that anyone who blasphemed Yahweh’s Name (did violence to it) should be stoned to death. They took that injunction and ramped it up, so that just pronouncing the Name constituted a serious offense. Ultimately, the Jews would not use the Name even in normal religious worship or exercises.
Another passage the Jews cite is Jeremiah 44:26, where Yahweh tells Judah not to use His Name in Egypt or foreign lands. Why did He say that? It was because they had worshiped the queen of heaven! It was a punishment for their sins. We have statements from Philo and Josephus around the time of Yahshua that this avoidance in uttering the name carried over into the New Testament as well.
What exactly happened in the New Testament and why aren’t most churches using the sacred Name today
Hiding the Name in the New Testament — Nomina Sacra
The Jewish belief that the name was not to be pronounced was picked up in the 2nd century C.E. by Greek translators and various Christian church leaders who continued the Jewish practice of Name substitution. They also adopted the notion that Adonai, translated Lord (kyrios in Greek), gave the Heavenly Father a universal character. Finally, the Jewish practice of avoiding the Name further evolved among Christians into the belief that the Name was no longer important and to use it was Judaizing.
The New Testament translators even mimicked the Hebrew scribal custom of adding vowel pointing to the Name to render it “Adonai” instead of Yahweh. This scribal practice carried over in the New Testament Greek and was known as nomina sacra (meaning “sacred names”). Specifically, the Greek letters kappa epsilon with a line above them were inserted for the sacred Name. Consequently, the reader would read “kurios” (Greek term for Lord) instead of the Name. All of the earliest Christian papyri exhibit the nomina sacra.
Bruce Metzger’s book, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, lists 15 examples of these abbreviations from Greek papyri that were used for: God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Son, Spirit, David, cross, Mother, Father, Israel, Savior, Man, Jerusalem, and Heaven (examples appear as found in KJV). Except for “mother,” which is not found until the 4th century CE, all other nomina sacra in Greek manuscripts from the first through third centuries CE. While scholars are still debating the purpose, some propose that this shortening of key words may have been used to replace the Tetragrammaton (see Ex. 3:15) with the common title Kurios (typically abreviated “KS” with a line above) in Greek Christian manuscripts.
This offers a likely explanation as to why Yahweh’s Name is missing from the Greek New Testament. In fact, in those places where the Tetragrammaton should appear, the definite article is missing in front of the nomina sacra. This conclusion is supported also by German scholar David Trobisch’s work, The First Edition of The New Testament. In the instance of a Hebrew or Aramaic NT original, this may also explain why the Greek title theos, typically (abbreviated “THS” with a line above), appears in place of the Hebrew [Elohim] (see Gen. 1:1).
Let’s now look at the oldest Bible manuscripts available to confirm that ‘the Heavenly Father’s Name was truly Yahweh.
‘Yahweh’ in the Original Text
In the Hebrew, which is the oldest text of your Bible, Yahweh’s Name is found in the form of the four letters (known as the Tetragrammaton) no fewer than 6,823 times. Those four letters are: yod, hay, waw, hay or YHWH in our alphabet. This four-lettered name is seen abundantly throughout the ancient Hebrew manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest of the Bible manuscripts in existence.
Some believe that the correct pronunciation of Yahweh’s Name has been lost through the centuries. The Judaica says otherwise: “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’” (Vol. 7, p. 680).
One of those was Clement of Alexandria, a Greek-speaking teacher in the early New Testament period (150-211 CE). He said, “The mystic name which is called the tetragrammaton … is pronounced Iaoue, which means, ‘who is, and who shall be’” (“How to pronounce ‘YHWH,’” Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, September/October 1994).
Already in the sixteenth century Mercerus suggested that the original pronunciation of the name was Yahwe (Anchor Bible note on Job).
The Schaff-Herzog 20th Century Encyclopedia says, “The pronunciation Yahweh of the Hebrew tetragrammaton need no longer be based on traditions preserved in late patristic sources. Both the vocalization yahwe and yahu (a shortened form used chiefly in personal names) are now confirmed by a variety of ancient Near Eastern inscriptional materials from the first and second millennia B.C,” pp. 1194-1195.
Others who confirm the correct rendition of the Tetragrammaton include Origen in his Hexapla (Greek revision of the Septuagint) and Jerome, who translated the Old Testament into Latin.
Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible says, “The true pronunciation seems to have been Yahwe (or Iahway, the initial I = y, as in Iachimo).” It notes that the e should be pronounced as the e in there, and the first h sounded as an aspirate (breathed letter).
For those who claim the Name should be Yahveh, the book, How the Hebrew Language Grew by Edward Horowitz, says, “The Yemenite Jews of Arabia who retain an ancient, correct and pure pronunciation of Hebrew still pronounce the (waw) as ‘w’ – as does Arabic, the close sister language of Hebrew.” The “v” developed much later through the Germanic, Yiddish influence in Europe.
The Missing Vowels Argument
Some misinformed individuals have claimed that the exact pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is unknown because Hebrew lacks vowels. This is incorrect for several reasons. Hebrew indeed has vowels, but the vowels were just not written into the Hebrew text. If Hebrew had no vowels then the entire Old Testament could not be read out loud or spoken. The Hebrew speaker understood the correct pronunciation of each word because he knew the language and the sounds of the letters and their combinations.
Consider, we can decipher many English words through repeated usage, even with no vowels. For example, if we saw the letters “txt” we would read it “text” even without the vowel “e.” When it came to names, “Wllm” would be “William” and “Jhn” would signify “John.” As with Hebrew, we see the consonants and restore the proper vowels.
Later in the seventh century C.E. scribes called Masoretes added diacritical marks or vowel points to Hebrew words so that the correct pronunciation would be preserved. These scribes obviously knew how to pronounce Hebrew words! We have also seen how the wrong vowel points were purposely used to try to hide the name Yahweh.
No language can be spoken without vowels. Vowels are vocalized with the open mouth. It would be virtually impossible to pronounce words without vowels; all you could do with just consonants alone is make incomprehensible sounds (try pronouncing those last two words with their vowels removed: ncmprhnsbl snds). Acting as a built-in safeguard to preserve the correct pronunciation, the three letters of the Tetragrammaton (the H is repeated) are also used as vowel-consonants in Hebrew, much as our letter “Y” can be used as either a vowel or a consonant. The writings of Qumran show that in the first century that “Y” used as a vowel made the sounds I and E. In Hebrew the consonants Y, W, H, can serve as vowels, being called ‘mothers of reading’ (matres lectionis). When these consonants do double-duty as vowels they help in the pronunciation of many Hebrew words.
But there is yet more confirmation that Yahweh is the correct Name.
The Jewish priest and historian Josephus, who lived in the first century of the New Testament era, attests that the Tetragrammaton is made up of vowels. In writing of the Temple, he said about the high priest, “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of Yahweh]; it consists of four vowels,” Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 5, section 7.
Being vowels, the letters of the Tetragrammaton spoken together are pronounced: EE-AH-OO-EH. Say them rapidly and you get “Yahweh.”
The personal, revealed Name Yahweh is attested in the prefaces of some Bibles. For example, the New Revised Standard Version says, “While it is almost, if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced ‘Yahweh’…’ Greek versions corroborate “Yahweh.”
Importance of His Name
In an effort to explain why a particular Bible version doesn’t use the Name Yahweh, some editors will waffle with a statement like, we use the substitute names and titles that readers are more familiar with—as if it didn’t matter to Yahweh Himself what we call Him.
Yahweh has a much different attitude about His personal Name, however. He told Moses to tell Israel in Exodus 3:15, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
Repeatedly He emphasizes the necessity of His Name. He said His Name alone is Yahweh forever, and it is not subject to alterations. He gives the command to “call on my name” in Psalm 99:6; we are told to declare His Name in Romans 9:17 andHebrews 2:2; to exalt His Name in Psalm 34:3 and Isaiah 2:4; to honor his name in Psalm 66:2, 4; to praise his Name in2Samuel 22:50; to remember His Name in Exodus 3:15; to sing to His Name in Psalm 9:1-2; to think on His Name in Malachi 3:16.; and in Deuteronomy 32:3 to publish His Name. In a critical passage He declares that there is salvation in no other name. Acts 4:12reads: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Yahshua the Savior carries His father’s Name in His own, and therefore has the only Name that offers salvation. After reading what He Himself says, who can argue that substitute names and titles are just as acceptable to Him?
You can find the name Yahweh verified in nearly any common encyclopedia, in most dictionaries and in a host of Bible study references (look under “Yahweh,” “Lord” or “God”). It is restored in the modern text of some Bible versions, including the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem Bibles, The Anchor Bible, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, World English Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible (50 times) and eight times in the New Living Translation and the Bible in Basic English. It is completely restored in our own Restoration Study Bible.
The Scriptures Confirm His Name Yahweh
Abundant evidence of the true Name exists within the Bible itself. Nicknames, which are often just shortened versions of the longer name, were used anciently as well as today. Abram was a shortened version of Abraham.
Yahweh also has a short form of His name, which is spelled by the first two letters of the Tetragrammaton, YH. The name “Yah” is found abundantly in the Hebrew manuscript sources of our Bible translations. It is even found in the King James Version inPsalm 68:4: “Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.” The “J” was originally a “Y,” as corrected in Psalm 68:4 by the New King James Version.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew dictionary No. 3050 has the entry Yahh, a contraction for 3068 [the Tetragrammaton, the Sacred Name].
The short form of Yahweh’s Name exists in many names of key Bible personalities. For example, it is found at the end of such names as Isaiah (IsaYah), Jeremiah (YeremYah), Hosea (HoseYah), Nehemiah (NehemiYah) and Hezekiah (HezekYah). The Anglicized “i-a-h” in these names is Y-a-h in the Hebrew. You can hear the “Yah” clearly when the name is spoken. But Yah also appears at the beginning of many names, as in Joel (Yah-el); Joash (Yah-awsh); Jonadab (Yah-nadab), Jochebed (Yah-chebed, mother of Moses), and Joanna (Yah-anna). This “Yah” or shortened form of Yahweh’s Name is also found in the common word of praise, halleluYah, a purely Hebrew term that
means “praise Yah.” Spelled hallelujah, it is still pronounced with the original Y sound—halleluyah—thus preserving the short form of His Name in a very well-established word.
Having His Name encoded in the names of notable Bible personalities is known as theophany. And there is one individual’s name in which assimilating the Father’s Name is absolutely critical — it is the Name of His Son the Messiah, the Savior of men
Our Savior’s True Name
In Exodus 23:21 we see a prophecy that the one sent to rescue Israel, and all of mankind as well, carries the Father’s Name within his own name. “Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name [is] in him.” This is a reference to the Savior Yahshua because only He is given the authority to pardon transgressions.
The last six words plainly state that the Father’s Name exists in the Son’s – “for my name [is] in him.” The Son affirmed that He literally bore His Father’s Name. “I am come in my Father’s name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive,” John 5:43.
Some contend that this just means that He came in the authority of the Father. That is true, too. Yet, as we have seen with many noteworthy patriarchs and prophets, the short form of Yahweh’s Name, Yah, is literally found in their names. This is common in the Hebrew Scriptures. Should it not be even more essential that the Son would carry his Father’s name in His own, especially since He Himself said so and because they are Father and Son? Every son today inherits his father’s surname. If the father’s last name is Smith, so is the son’s. The Heavenly Father and Son also share the family Name, Yah, in their own names.
Virtually every name in Hebrew has a meaning. Our Savior’s earthly father Joseph was told by the angel to give His Son a name that signified salvation.
Notice, “But while he (Joseph) thought on these things, behold, the angel of Yahweh appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Yahshua: for he shall save his people from their sins,” Matthew 1:20-21.
The angel Gabriel also spoke to Mary regarding the name of her unborn son. Since Mary, or more correctly Miriam, was a Hebrew of the tribe of Judah (see Luke 1:27), Gabriel had to communicate to her in the Hebrew tongue, her native language. Had he spoken to her in Latin or Greek she would not have understood him. Whenever angels spoke to mankind in Scripture it was always in the Hebrew tongue.
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with Elohim. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Yahshua” (Luke 1:30-31).
The Messiah’s purpose was to save His people from the death penalty resulting from their sinful behavior IF they would turn to Him in repentance. The angel tied the son’s Name directly to salvation. You shall call Him this Name because He shall save His people. It can’t get any clearer! In Hebrew the word for salvation is hoshua. Because the Father’s Name is in the Savior’s Name, and knowing that His purpose was to bring salvation, we combine these two essential facts and the result is a name that means “Yahweh (Yah) is salvation” or “Yahshua.”
Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary shows how erroneous vowel pointing changes YAH to give YEH. You can see this by scanning through the entire column starting with “Yehovah.” In every name in this column, a shewa (:) appears under the Hebrew letter yod (y), and thereby the pronunciation in the prefix of all those names is changed to “YEH.” The proper vowel point should have been the hataf-patah (short ‘a’) to yield “YAH,” as the Judaica has explained.
Using the “e” instead of the proper “a” changes the critical family Name YAH, the first syllable of both Yahweh’s and Yahshua’s Names. This also explains how the “e” likely came about in the transformed name that became Jesus. The next letter in Jesus, “s,” results from the fact that Greek has no letter “h” and therefore no “sh” sound, only the hard “s” sound of the sigma. This was incorporated into the Latin text.
The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology explains, “Iesous is the Greek form of the Old Testament Jewish name Yesua [Yahshua], arrived at by transcribing the Hebrew and adding an “s” to the nominative to facilitate declension.”
The final “us” in “Jesus” is the Greek nominative masculine singular ending. Matthew 1:8-11 contains the genealogy of Joseph’s line, where we can find similar examples of “s” added to produce Greek-inflected Hebrew names: Uzziah becomes Ozias; Hezekiah becomes Ezekias; Jonah becomes Jonas, etc. Ending a name with an “a” in Greek makes it feminine, so the Greek translators gave it a masculine “us” ending. Such errors among names in most versions can be traced to translators who failed to transliterate those names properly to bring the name sound for sound into the next language. Jesus is the English rendering of the Latin transliteration of the Greek word “Iesous” (pronounced ee-ay-sooce’). As we look into the origin and meaning of the Savior’s name we learn that the Latinized Greek name Jesus has no connection to His true Hebrew name.
Yahweh has bestowed on His Son the family Name, as we see in Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore Yahweh also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Yahshua Messiah is Master, to the glory of Yahweh the Father.”
Our Savior’s Family Was Not Greek
A fundamental question about the Messiah’s Name is, why would His Hebrew parents Mary and Joseph call their child a Latinized Greek name, which also lacks any connotation of salvation? To do so would also violate what the angel told them to call their Son. Would an American couple living in Iowa give their child a Chinese name? Of course not. Chinese is not their race or culture. Neither would a Hebrew couple living in the heart of Israel name their child a Greek name like “Jesus.”
The Greek culture and language were foreign to the Jews in Israel. The invading Greeks were gentiles and were despised by most Hebrews living in the environs of Jerusalem at the time. There was no love between Jews and the pagan, Zeus-worshiping Helenists. The Greek ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes had grotesquely defiled the Hebrew’s temple by having a hog slaughtered on its altar and then dedicating the Temple to Zeus. This madman’s monstrous act was so egregious that it would parallel what the man of sin will one day do to devastate true worship prior to Yahshua’s return, Matthew 24:15.
The acts of Antiochus in forcing the worship of the Greek god Zeus on the Jews and killing tens of thousands of Hebrews incited the Maccabbean revolt. In Acts 21:26-29 Paul had upset the Jews by bringing Greeks into the temple, proving that Jews had no love for the heathen Greeks. It was for the Greek-speaking Jews outside of Israel in Gentile nations, mostly in Egypt, that the Septuagint Greek Scriptures were translated.
Was the New Testament Originally Greek?
Many believe that the apostles originally wrote the New Testament in Greek simply because Greek manuscripts are the oldest available. Internal and external testimony explodes the common myth of a Greek original. Consider that the Savior’s earthly parents were Jews, Semitic people in the Hebrew nation of Israel. The Savior’s avowed purpose was to take the truth of the Word to the house of Israel. He chose Hebrew apostles to help in His ministry. He taught and worked almost exclusively in the central region of Israel, mostly around Galilee. He spoke Hebrew or the close sister tongue Aramaic as did everyone else in Galilee. Everything about Him exhibited the Semitic tongue Hebrew, including His Name.
The reason so much of worship — even today— reflects a Grecianized, Romanized flavor is that these cultures transformed the early New Testament faith when they absorbed the Hebrews into their western society. Because of this, many key New Testament teachings today do not reflect what they were in the year 30 CE. (Request the booklet, Astonishing Bible Truths That Your Church Never Taught.)
Joshua and Yahshua Share Virtually the Same Name
Another eye-opening link to the actual name of our Savior is the Old Testament name Joshua. If you replace the more recent letter “J” in Joshua’s name with the original “Y,” you have the pronunciation “Yahshua” (try it—say Joshua out loud, now say it again using the proper Y instead of J). There is an equivalency between the Savior’s name and the Old Testament name Joshua, as indicated in several Scriptures.
The first of these is Jeremiah 23:5, which prophesies, “Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”
This “Branch” with a capital “B” in the KJV is a clear reference to Yahshua the Messiah, who came from King David’s line. Note that this Branch is called righteous, that He shall reign as king, and that he will judge the earth. That can only point directly to the returning Messiah.
But now let’s see how truly illuminating this Branch metaphor is. Who else is associated with this designation “Branch”?
The prophet Zechariah in 6:11-12 wrote: “Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set [them] upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Yahweh of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of Yahweh.” It is the name Joshua that is associated with “the Branch.” Through this Branch epithet we see that both the high priest Joshua and the Messiah share the same Name.
But there is still more confirmation connecting the name Joshua to the Savior’s name.
When Bible translators brought the New Testament Greek translation over into the English, they substituted the sacred Names rather than transliterated them as they should have done. Two examples are Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8.
Acts 7:45 reads, “Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom Elohim drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David.”
Hebrews 4:8 reads, “For if Jesus had given them rest then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.”
Both verses refer to Joshua, the leader of Israel in the Old Testament who succeeded Moses and led Israel into the promised land. Yet, here He is called “Jesus”! Clearly this was a mistake by translators, and a very revealing error at that.
It demonstrates that when translators came across the name Yahshua in the New Testament, that they automatically changed it to the Latinized Greek substitute, Jesus. The Bible itself warns against adding to or taking from the Word. In Deuteronomy 4:2 we hear Yahweh’s warning about changing the text in any manner:
Explicit Meaning in the Name
We read in Acts 4:12, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Changing His Name is serious business and even impacts salvation. Names in Hebrew are tightly wrapped in their own meanings. Changing Yahshua’s name is not only identity theft, but it also alters His purpose for coming. He has gone from “Yahweh’s Salvation” to a name void of any innate meaning, showing again that Jesus is not Hebraic because Hebrew names have meaning.
The Savior Yahshua came to offer salvation. That is what Yah-shua means in the Hebrew. Act 4:12 tells us there is salvation in no other name. No Latinized-Grecian name or substitute title has that significance.
In his book, The God of Two Testaments, author Robert Brent Graves writes, “…the rendering of ‘Savior’ only gives part of the Hebrew meaning. In the original Hebrew, ‘Joshua’ literally means ‘Yahweh saves’ or ‘Yahweh-Savior’! For the first syllable of ‘Joshua’ in the Hebrew is Yah, an abbreviated form of Yahweh…” Graves further observes that Yahweh “has literally stamped upon the Messiah’s Name (1) His own name—Yahweh and (2) His own title—Savior.”
The Anchor Bible note on Matthew 1:1 reads: “Jesus. The word is the Greek rendering of a well-known Hebrew name. It was Yahoshu first, then by inner Hebrew phonetic change it became Yoshua, and by a still northern dialectal shift, Yeshua.” This reference goes on to say that the first part of the name, Yahu equals Yahweh, while the second comes from shua, “to help, save.”
Kittle’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament reveals through the Hebrew that the name Yahoshua was shortened after the exile. The shortened form Yahshua was in vogue at the time of His birth.
Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott says in the appendix under “Jesus”—”This name is composed of YAH, or JAH, I shall be and SHUA, Powerful;–“I shall be the Powerful.” Hence he is “mighty to save, and strong to deliver,” and will “save his people from their sins.
Eusebius, third-century scholar of the Biblical canon, noted that the Son’s name means the salvation of Elohim. “For Isoua among the Hebrews is salvation, and among them the son of Nun is called Joshua; and Iasoue is the salvation of JAH,” Ibid.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:10-11: “That at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Yahshua Messiah is Sovereign, to the glory of Yahweh the Father.”
Man Decides Instead of Yahweh
Ancient Bible manuscripts from which your Bible was translated show the sacred names, but translators failed to carry them over and instead replaced them. Remarkably, they left many other Hebrew names virtually unchanged, such as: Satan, David, Abraham, Eleazar, Immanuel, Rachel, Joseph, Barabbas, Martha, and Tabitha.
It is fundamental to understand that names are not translated. Nor are specific names changed in going from language to language. Instead, the sound of a name is brought over from one language to another. William Smith is William Smith no matter where he goes in the world. His name isn’t translated or changed. He signs his credit card “William Smith” in every foreign country he is in. He answers to the name William Smith whether in France, Russia or Zimbabwe. When a dignitary from Russia or China visits the U.S., American newscasts pronounce his name the same as in his native language. Who would ever ask for the English equivalent of Vladimir Putin or the English version of Chinese leader Hu Jintao? Clearly, no one, because there is no English version. The same goes for the Father’s Name. It is the same worldwide in every language.
The Lord God?
The shocking negligence in the way the sacred Name was handled through the centuries was even prophesied in such passages asJeremiah 23:27, saying, “Their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.” Baal equals “Lord” according to the Hebrew lexicon. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names confirms that Baal is used in the Bible as “L-o-r-d.” The Companion Bible’s note onIsaiah 46:1 says of Bel: “Abbreviation of Baal=lord” (see note on Num. 25:3). You have forgotten my name for Lord, Yahweh foretold through the prophet.
Besides its connection to Ba’al, our English word “Lord” itself is a contraction of two words meaning “keeper of the loaf” (bread). It is from the Old English hlaford (hlaf=bread and weard=guardian (American Heritage Dictionary). Is it proper to use such a term for the Mighty One of the universe?
“God” comes from Old English gheu(d), “to pour” (American Heritage Dictionary). The Oxford English Dictionary adds that god also means to “pour as in a molten image.” Paul says there are many lords and many gods. We reduce Yahweh to just another common deity when we replace His Name with their titles. Doing so also changes His identity. He thunders in Isaiah 42:8, “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my honour will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
When you reduce Yahweh to a simple title—one that makes Him into a broad-spectrum, ambiguous and impersonal persona, you also water down his worship by the same measure. A one-size-fits-all belief goes along with a generic deity. Nothing specific is required when you worship a no-named mighty one. That’s modern worship in a nutshell, honoring a generic title with general worship and nonspecific behavior.
When you worship “Yahweh,” however, your worship takes on an identity as it comes under the mandates of the Creator Himself. It is to be conducted in very specific ways. His people adhere to the requirements of the covenant promise He made through His personal Name. That is why He established His Name in the very first of the Ten Commandments, so that Israel would understand that they were worshiping only Him exclusively; specifics of His unique worship will now be required of them. Exclusive worship in His one and only Name extends all the way to the end of the Bible. Concerning the 144,000, Revelation 14:1 says: “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
The Price of Concealment
The one who owns the Name repeatedly commands that He be called by His Name and worshiped in that name.
Is it just a coincidence that the distinguished Philadelphia congregation, the most faithful end-time assembly, has not denied His Name? (Rev. 3:10).
Although Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament show His Name correctly, most Christian Bibles substitute “the LORD,” “the Lord GOD,” or “LORD of hosts.” (The Tanak uses the word “HASHEM” or the phrase “the Lord HASHEM/Elohim” instead of the Name “Yahweh.”)
This is by far the greatest cover-up in all of history by those who know better. It explains why so few Bible students know Yahweh’s Name today—as well as the True Worship that goes along with His covenant Name.
Most churchgoers have never heard Yahweh’s Name mentioned from the pulpit. A reasonable person would think that at some point most ministers would have turned on to the host of commands in the Bible associated with Yahweh’s Name and would have shown the truth about it to their congregations. Any sincere minister would teach this truth they learned in seminary, especially in light of the 7,000 times His Name appears in the Old Testament manuscripts. But it has yet to happen on a large scale. The age-old suppression of the Name has latent power. Tradition is a powerful force to reckon with.
What more does it take for Yahweh to prove to man that He has a personal Name by which He expects to be called and worshiped? Does He need to reveal His Name 7,000 more times before people begin to see its importance? He says over and over again how critical His true Name is to proper worship.
He Commands His Name Be Honored
Yahweh tied His promises, His covenant, and salvation to His Name. He commands His people to call on His true Name as part of His worship. “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is YAHWEH, art the most high over all the earth,” Psalm 83:18. It is nothing short of stunning that so few clergy are willing to teach this key salvation truth!
But some might ask, when it all comes down to it, does it really matter? Doesn’t He know who I mean anyway?
We’ll let Yahweh Himself answer that.
He says in Malachi 2:1-2: “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith Yahweh of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.” Refusal to call on His true name is a condition of the heart. It says to Him you have no real desire to honor Him in all things. He says you are not completely true to Me if you can’t even honor me by my Name.
The issue is, does He “know who you mean” when your worship also fails to live up to what He expects? Both His worship and His people are tied to Him through His Name. It is not just a matter of knowing or even just using His Name. It is also about aligning your worship and your life with all that His Name signifies, because His Name defines Him. This is clear in Exodus 6:3: “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them.” This is a Hebrew idiomatic expression that means Yahweh’s Name was not yet revealed in its fullness through the sustaining and saving acts that He would eventually perform for Israel.
According to the Apostle Peter, our very salvation is through the Name Yahshua. Consider what he tells us in Acts 2:37-38. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Yahshua warned in Matthew 7:22, “Many will say to me in that day, Sovereign, Sovereign, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Iniquity is sin. Sin is defined as lawbreaking, 1John 3:4. Along with knowing and using His name is the obedience that goes with it. Living a unique life of obedience is what He means by giving glory to His Name.
Those who honor His name will receive the blessings of life everlasting as they call on the only name that offers salvation. Acts 4:12says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
What about you? Will you honor the One you worship by honoring His personal name? Will you be among the select ones who eagerly embrace what they have learned and submit to His Name in worship? That is what He expects of His followers. The first commandment says, I am Yahweh, you shall have none other mighty ones before me. If you honor Him by His personal, revealed Name, He will bless you as well.
Some will say: He has many names; He knows who you mean anyway; one name is as good as another; I speak English not Hebrew; His name just means his authority, and the pronunciation of His Name was lost. Each of these is soundly and decisively refuted by Yahweh Himself as well as by linguistic fact.
The Name Before Moses
Some believe that Yahweh’s Name was not known before He revealed it to Moses in Exodus, and therefore it cannot apply to all people. The following verses from Genesis reveal the error of this argument and show that Yahweh’s Name was indeed known by the patriarchs and used long before Moses:
►Eve called on His Name – Genesis 4:1
► Abimelech used Yahweh’s Name – Genesis 20:4
► Isaac called upon Yahweh’s Name – Genesis 26:25
► Yahweh revealed His Name to Jacob – Genesis 28:13
► Anciently men “began to call on the Name Yahweh” – Genesis 4:26
Please take a moment to complete our short survey. We appreciate your time and value your feedback.