Monday, 31 May 2010


The Divine Name

Original extracts from, which I added to my book The Best-Laid Schemes O' Mice An' Men... , in 2008 - Edward Laughlan

God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations’” Exodus 3: 15. World English Version.

(1) … His name is easy to identify in the original language of the Bible, Hebrew. But his name has become beclouded by erroneous translations, corrupted manuscripts and Jewish tradition…

(6) But someone may say, “Isn’t his name ‘God?’ or ‘Lord’?” No, the apostle Paul tells us that “there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords.’” (1 Corinthians 8: 5) The words “God” and “Lord” are actually titles rather than personal names. The Hebrew words for “god” and “lord” are applied in the Bible to men, angels, and as well as inanimate idols.

(7) The evidence given in the Bible (from the Hebrew) shows that the Creator has only one personal name…

(8) We must remember that the first part of the Bible was written in Hebrew-Aramaic (commonly called “Old Testament”) and the second part was written in Greek (commonly called “New Testament”). If you are reading the Bible in any other language, you are reading somebody’s translation, and often their interpretation of the Bible -- not the Bible as it was originally written.

(9) The Creator’s name in the Hebrew Scriptures is represented by four Hebrew characters (Yowd, He, Vav, He). These four Hebrew letters are referred to as the Tetragrammaton. They correspond roughly with the English letters YHWH or JHVH. As most of our readers know, we have been rendering the Creator’s name as “Yahweh” throughout our publications.

(10) Many Bible scholars, however, often remark that “the Lord” and “God” are “names” for the Creator. Translators, therefore, feel that it is okay to substitute the term “the Lord” or “God” for the personal name of the Creator. But as we will show, “Lord” and “God” are not really names of the Creator, but rather titles. The Creator’s name appears in the Hebrew text over 7,000 times. Note the following:

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature: “Jehovah -- the imperfect of Jahve (Yahwe… or Jahwe (Yahweh)).”

Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary: “And the name above all others that was looked upon as the name, the personal name of God, was YAHWEH.”

The New American Encyclopedia: “Jehovah -- (properly Yahweh) a name of the God of Israel, now widely regarded as a mis-pronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica: “… the letters YHWH used in the original Hebrew Bible to represent the name of God.”

The Oxford Cyclopedic Concordance: “Jehovah -- the name revealed to Moses at Horeb. Its real pronunciation is approximately Yahweh. The Name itself was not pronounced Jehovah before the 16th century.”

American Heritage Dictionary: “Yahweh -- A name for God assumed by modern scholars to be a rendering of the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton.”

New Century Dictionary: “Jehovah -- the common European rendering of Heb. JHVH (or YHWH), representing, without vowels, Heb. Jahweh (or Yahweh), a divine name… regarded by the Jews as too sacred for utterance and hence replaced in the reading of the Scriptures by Adonai or Elohim; the form Jehovah being due to a mispronunciation of Heb. JHVH with the vowels of the associated Heb. Adonai. A name of God in the Old Testament, being the Christian rendering of ‘ineffable name,’ JHVH in the Hebrew Scriptures.”

A History of Christianity, Kenneth Scott Latourette (pg. 11): “Israel regarded their god, Yahweh, a name mistakenly put into English as Jehovah, as the God of the universe, the maker and ruler of heaven and Earth…

(11) Another excuse for substituting “the Lord” or “God” for the Creator’s name is given in the “Preface” of The New American Standard Bible:

“This name [Yahweh] has not been pronounced by the Jews because of the great sacredness of the Divine Name. Therefore it was consistently pronounced and translated Lord.

“It is known that for many years YHWH has been translated as Yahweh. No complete certainty attaches to this pronunciation. However, it is felt by many who are in touch with the laity of our churches that this name conveys no religious or spiritual overtones. It is strange, uncommon, and without sufficient religious and devotional background. Hence it was decided to avoid the use of this name in the translation proper.”

(12) How well the translators of the popular versions of the Bible have allowed themselves to be duped by the Adversary! Note this! They are admitting to taking away from and adding to God’s Word by substituting the Lord or God for the Divine Name! (Proverbs 30: 5, 6) Their conclusion that the Divine Name is “strange, uncommon, and without sufficient religious and devotional background” is meaningless as far as it comes to changing God’s Word! And what they seek to change is the very identity of the One who spoke the words! If translators would not be so insistent on removing the Divine Name from the Bible then the name of Yahweh would not sound so uncommon!

(13) Another reason given for using substitutes for the divine name concerns the Jewish custom regarding the name. The Jews had become superstitious regarding the pronouncing of this name, so they began to substitute the titles ADONAY (Lord) or ELOHIM (God) wherever God’s name appeared. The original Hebrew alphabet contained only letters for the consonant sounds. Vowel sounds, while pronounced, were not written. Due to the Jewish superstition of substituting Adonay or Elohim for the Creator’s name, in time the pronunciation of God’s name was thought to be lost. Nevertheless, many believe that God’s name in Hebrew was pronounced YAHWEH.

(16) The Revised Standard Version, (Preface) states:

“The form Jehovah is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word. The sound of Y is represented by J and the sound of W by V, as in Latin. The word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew.”

(17) The Encyclopaedia Britannica (15th Edition) declares:

“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. Although Christian scholars after the Renaissance and Reformation periods used the term Jehovah for YHWH, in the 19th and 20th centuries biblical scholars again began to use the form Yahweh. 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.”

(19) Additionally, some have pointed out that the structure of the word “Jehovah” indicates that it may actually slander the Creator! The prefix “Je” is often used to represent the shortened form of the Creator’s name, “Yah.” “Hovah” in Hebrew means “ruin” or “mischief.” (See Strong’s number 1943) Thus its meaning would be “Yahweh is ruinous,” or “Yahweh is mischievous.” Hovah is derived from havvah which means “eagerly coveting and rushing upon; by impl. of falling.” (Strong) Thus some claim that this is how insidiously Satan the Devil, the real mischievous one, the real “fallen angel” who “covets” the position of the Most High, has replaced the Creator’s name with a name that describes himself! (Isaiah 14: 12-14; Luke 10: 18; 4: 8, 9) It is for this reason that some have said that the strange word “Jehovah” really refers to Satan (meaning “opposer”) the Devil (meaning “false accuser, slanderer”)…


(20) However, just because there is uncertainty as to how the divine name should be pronounced does not mean that we feel it is proper to substitute “Lord” or “God” for the Creator’s name. The ancient Hebrews several times sought also to substitute God’s name with a word that means “Lord” -- that is, “Baal.” “And they forsook Yahweh God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked Yahweh’s anger. They forsook Yahweh and served Baal [the Lord] and the Ashtoreths. And the anger of Yahweh was hot against Israel.” (Judges 3: 7, 8; see also Judges 2: 11-14; 8: 33, 34; 10: 6, 7) And again in Jeremiah’s time Yahweh spoke against those who “try to make my people forget my name… as their fathers forgot my name for Baal [the Lord].” (Jeremiah 23: 27)…


(25) Another reason the Tetragrammaton should not be rendered by “the Lord”, or “God” has to do with the meaning of God’s name… The usual meaning given to this word is something like “He is,” or “The Eternal.” Yahweh is the third person singular of the Hebrew verb hayah (to be or become). In Exodus 3: 14 Yahweh gives Moses a different variation of his name in the first person: “I will be what I will be (Ehyeh’ asher’ ehyeh’).” (Revised Standard Version - footnote) Many translations render this “I AM THAT I AM.” However, according to some authorities, the Hebrew word hayah, as used in this verse, means more than just to exist. It also carries with it the thought of coming into existence, or causing to exist. Thus the third person would mean: “He will cause to be,” or “He causes to be.”

(26) The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, vol. 14, page 1065, after discussing the usual meanings given to God’s name, states: “All these explanations, however, overlook the fact that in Ex 3: 14 a merely folk etymology of the name, based on the qal form of the verb ‘to be,’ is given. Grammatically, because of its vocalization, yahweh can only be a hi’phil or causative form of this verb, with the meaning ‘He causes to be, He brings into being.’ Probably, therefore, yahweh is an abbreviated form of the longer, yahweh aser yihweh, ‘He brings into being whatever exists.’ The name, therefore, describes the God of Israel as the Creator of the universe.”


(33) If you ask the average church-goer if he is involved in Baal worship, he will more than likely say “No!” If asked what God he worships, he will probably answer, “The Lord,” “God,” or maybe even “Jesus.” In his mind, he is not involved in Baal worship at all. But in this he has been deceived, just as Satan deceived Eve into partaking of the forbidden fruit. (2 Corinthians 11: 3) Such a person is likely to “praise the Lord” and call upon the name of “the Lord” in prayer without any idea of Baal worship. He has been trained to do so all his life. The popular translations of the Bible have led him to believe that it is proper to call upon the name of “the Lord” rather than “Yahweh.” After all, it is generally assumed that the Christian writers of the Bible substituted “kyrios” (or kurios, the Lord) for God’s name in the Greek scriptures. [We will discuss this later] Thus, he has usually accepted this tradition as truth without any further investigation.

(34) The vast majority who have been calling upon the name of “the Lord” instead of Yahweh have been doing so ignorantly. These are somewhat excusable. But if we wish to worship in “spirit and truth” we must not just accept what has been handed to us without further investigation. (John 4: 24; 1 Peter 1: 18; 1 John 4: 1) If we do accept a god named “the Lord” without investigation are we not deceiving ourselves and following a lie? We could be giving praise to Baal, who really is the Devil, for all prayers offered on the table of Baal are really offered to the demons, and not to the true God. -- 1 Corinthians 10: 20-22; 2 Corinthians 5: 14-16.

(37) However, it is improper to use the term “the Lord” (Spanish “El Señor”) in such a manner as to make it the proper name of the deity we worship. There was also a specific Canaanite god called “hab-Baal”, that is, “the Lord.” It is when the word “Baal” or “Lord” is used in this sense, or as a substitute for God’s name, that it becomes an element of false idol worship. Here are only a few scriptures that tell us how Yahweh felt about the worship of other gods:

“I am [Yahweh] your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me… for I [Yahweh] your God am a jealous God.” -- Exodus 20: 2-5, Revised Standard Version

(39) This god named Baal is later called Tammuz. Tammuz (or Baal, “the Lord”) worship was closely associated with the cross, tree, and sun worship. (See our study on: The Cross and Idolatry) This worship is still carried on amongst most traditional Christian groups in the form of the cross, Christmas trees, wreaths and Easter.

(40) Once a disciple of Messiah learns the truth concerning these matters, he or she should immediately remove all these forms of Baal (“the Lord”) worship from their lives! “Come out of her my people!” (Revelation 18: 4) Yes, get out of all kinds of worship that entertains Satan’s deceptions of idolatry!

The Divine Name in the New Testament

(41) Getting back to the name of God, some claim that since the New Testament “translates” into Greek as “Kyrios”, also meaning “the Lord,” then we should do the same. However, evidence indicates that the “New Testament” Bible writers did not substitute God’s name with “Kyrios,” (“the Lord”). According to Mr. George Howard, Associate Professor of Religion and Hebrew at the University of Georgia:

“In 1944, W. G. Waddell discovered the remains of an Egyptian papyrus scroll (Papyrus Fuad 266) dating to the first or second century B.C. which included part of the Septuagint. In no instance, however, was YHWH translated kyrios. Instead the Tetragrammaton itself -- in square Aramaic letters -- was written into the Greek text…

(42) “We have three separate pre-Christian copies of the Greek Septuagint Bible and in not a single instance is the Tetragrammaton translated kyrios or for that matter translated at all…”

(43) “The divine name YHWH was and is the most sacred word in the Hebrew language. So it is hardly likely that Jews of any sort would have removed it from their Bibles. Furthermore, we know now from discoveries in Egypt and the Judean desert the Jews wrote the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew even in their Greek texts. In all likelihood Jewish Christians felt the same way about the divine name and continued to preserve it in Hebrew in their Bibles…”

(45) … After the apostle’s deaths, there was a great falling away from the true faith. (2 Thessalonians 2: 3; 2 Peter 2: 3) Most of the Jewish Christians were killed by the Roman authorities, leaving mostly “Gentile” Christians. These Gentile Christians wanted to appease the Roman authorities and gain approval amongst Romans in general. They began to discard almost anything that made them look Jewish. The Greek philosophies were put on par with the Holy Scriptures. (2 Timothy 6: 20, 21) Under these circumstances, we can see how all scriptures containing the divine name were more than likely destroyed, leaving only copies that contained the substitutes, kyrios or theos.

(46) Therefore we reason that the Christian Bible writers did indeed use the divine name in their writings, either in its Hebrew form or more probably some Greek form. To believe other than this would mean that we believe our Savior and the apostles came in the name of a god named Kyrios and not in the name of Yahweh. According the Hebrew Scriptures, if this were so, we should then reject all of the Christian writings as being messages of a false god: “But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak -- that prophet shall die.” -- Deuteronomy 18: 20.

(47) Today there are many who claim to be prophets who come to us in the name of “the Lord,” all of whom we can readily recognize as not being sent by the true God, Yahweh… A true prophet will speak in agreement with the written Word of God.

(48) Are all those, then, who worship by using “the Lord” or “Jehovah” calling upon a false god? Well, yes and no… Satan has caused a great deception… Each is responsible for what he has been given. (Luke 12: 48)… as the message travels… we should expect that Yahweh’s holy spirit will direct it so that all who are truly his will have at least heard the true message.

(49) How, then, should we honor the name of our Creator? Certainly not by substituting “the Lord” for his name. But neither does it honor his name to make the use of his name our main message… Yet all who truly want to worship in spirit and truth should immediately begin to “remove the names of Baalim” from their mouths. (John 4: 23, 24; Hosea 2: 17) Thus, as loving children of Yahweh, we should desire to “Praise Yahweh,” not “Praise the Lord [Baal]… We recognize that all who love this world, including all who love the popular traditions of men, are about to be taken in destruction…

(51) But the good news is that their destruction is to discipline and humble them, not to send them to eternal destruction as taught by the Watchtower leaders. (Isaiah 2: 11; 5: 15, 16; 10: 33; Psalm 94: 10) Yahweh will sanctify his name when He says to all whom he destroyed: “Return, O you sons of men!” (Psalm 90: 3) After the destruction of Satan’s kingdom and Yahweh’s kingdom has full sway over all the Earth, all who have died will return to the Earth (with the exception of the joint-heirs with Christ, who will already be resurrected -- Romans 8: 17; Revelation 20: 4) to be judged by the righteous judge. (Revelation 20: 12) As a result “many people will go and say: ‘Let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” (Isaiah 2: 3) It is at that time that the “desire of all nations will come.” (Haggai 2: 7) Then the “glory of Yahweh will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.” (Isaiah 40: 5) And the saying in Psalm 83: 18 will be fulfilled upon those who perished, as spoken of in Psalm 83: 17. “And let them know that Your name is Yahweh, that You alone are the Most High over the whole Earth.” At that time, “they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” (Jeremiah 31: 34) “And I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of the many nations; and they will know that I am Yahweh.” (Ezekiel 38: 23) Praise Yah!
(End of quote)

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1 comment:

Anders Branderud said...

Devarim 13:1-6 forbids the addition of mitzwot and subtraction of mitzwot from Torah.

Ribi Yehoshuas talmidim Netzarim still observes Torah non-selectively to their utmost today and the research in the previous mentioned Netzarim-website implies that becoming one of Ribi Yehoshuas Netzarim-followers is the only way to follow him.