The Sacred Name

YHWH

What’s In A Name?

So what exactly is in a name? A popular phrase asks the question, “Would a Rose by any other name smell as sweet”. Would the answer also hold true for the sacred names of God and His Son? Does the name John pronounced phonetically as jown mean the same and will the correct person lift their head up to respond to the call of that name?

Who hasn’t been to a party or family gathering and been introduced to a group of strangers? How many of us have immediately forgotten most of those new names? How many of us have later been embarrassed when the need to use one of those names has occurred and we have forgotten?

How about titles then? Is it ok for us to be continually using titles instead of names? Maybe it is ok on board ship when we ask for the Captain or the Purser because there is often only one of those on board. What if we just call for our children either singularly or in plural as child or children? In a group of adults with just one’s own children present it may suffice, but in a playground or school it just wouldn’t work. Yes our own children may lift their heads but so will 30 others. Does this same rational apply to the name of God?

So what is in a name? Just as an illustration, I will use the name Christopher. The meaning of it is generally accepted to mean Christ Bearer. If I change a few letters and make my name Crostofer, does it have the same meaning and will I answer to it? I think not! I would like to add a comment here about transliteration and Anglicisation. Using my own name again, when it is spelt in German it becomes Kristophe; however the pronunciation and the meaning remains the same. Shouldn’t the same rule hold true (and even more importantly so) for the sacred name of God?

Abraham

Let us briefly consider just one name from the Old Testament, that of Abram. If the meaning of names is of any significance in the western world, let me here assure you that it is immeasurably more important in Hebrew. Even the way the individual letters are shaped is important! (See article Mysticism of the Hebrew Alphabet). Abram literally means high father, a name which could apply to any clan, tribe or head of family. Through Abram’s righteousness and faith God chose him to be the father of His chosen people, who would be as numerous as the stars in the night sky. For this reason the name Abram would no longer be sufficient as it lacked the magnitude that Abram’s new role in life warranted. For this reason God Himself renamed Abram as Abraham which means “Father of a Multitude”. A significant promotion!

 

Now let us proceed to more serious matters, that of the name of God and His Son. Did you know that the Sacred name of God has been removed from the Tanak (Old Testament) by the scribes to protect the people from breaking the commandment:

Exodus 20:7.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

In the Scriptures this is actually rendered as:

You do not bring the name of Yaohu your Elohim to nought, for Yaohu does not leave the one unpunished who brings His Name to nought.

How do we bring His name to nought – by forgetting it or hiding it or changing it or by losing it altogether.

 

Taking our own names as an example, let us suppose that we wish to travel and in the place of a name on our passport we have a blank space or that we just use the word 'human'; what country would accept us? Perhaps we wish to make a credit card purchase and the name is left blank; will we be allowed to purchase anything with that card? How about voting? Can we vote without some form of proof of identity, can we own a house, a car, a driving license; can we gain regular employment? The list is endless, so what if somebody removed your name from all records; how would it affect you?

Even from the brief argument above we can see that there is quite a lot in a name. It not only tells you who you are but also tells others something about you.

The ancient scribes who wished to protect their people from inadvertently blaspheming, removed the Name of the Most High God from the Tanak but in so doing, they broke the commandment of making His Name nought or nothing.

So who do we pray to today and in whose name do we pray. Firstly to set the scene, two biblical quotes viz:

 

Psalms 99:6

Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.

Of course in a restored names version of God’s word, this same verse would read - they called upon Yaohu’ul. Thus identifying the Creator God as the correct god that they wished to hear them. Why should we worry about that – surely there is only one God, who is above all and who created all? He will know who it is to whom we call.

Proverbs 30:4

…..Who established all the ends of the earth? What is His Name and what is His Son’s Name, if you know it?

From this we can see that even then the name of the Creator had been forgotten. Would we like our names forgotten? How do we call upon His name when we don’t know it. To just cry out to god will not do it! Sha’ul (Paul) tells us:

1 Corinthians 8:5

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,).

In 1 Kings 18:25 we read:

And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.

So not only are there other gods but they have names! No wonder so many prayers apparently go unanswered. If we call upon god then there may be 1,000 gods who will turn their attention on us – some of them most undesirable as well!

Having just mentioned the name of Sha’ul, it seems fitting to ask by whose authority his name was changed to Paul? Certainly scripture is not that authority as there is no mention of it! I can only suppose that it was Romanised. Paulos actually means ‘Small’, whereas Sha’ul means ‘Borrowed’. There is a also a Hebrew name Pallu which means ‘Separated’.

With many biblical names the English translators seem to have gone to unnecessary lengths to anglicise even those which didn’t need to be. Why for instance was the mother of Messiah, Miryam changed to Mary. Why was Yohanan changed to John. A study of the name changes will produce many worrying discrepancies and inconsistencies, which causes one to pause and simply ask; why?

 

Finally let us get to the heart of the matter; that of the name of the most high God and His Son Messiah, or Christ. (Messiah is Hebrew for Anointed and Christ is the Greek equivalent.

It may surprise many that this section is so brief but the reason for it is simple. There are many different explanations of how the tetragrammaton of YHWH or YHVH should be converted back to God’s name. It is not my intention to tell you how you should use The Name; all I can do is to tell you what I use and why.

Firstly, I can not support the arguments for Jah, Jaweh or Jehova as there is no J in either the Greek or the Hebrew alphabets and even the in the English alphabet the J did not appear until the 14th century. Consider the following verse, the first taken from the King James Version, the second from the Bishops Bible, and the third from the Geneva Bible:

KJV. Matthew 1:1  The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
BB. Matthew 1:1  This is the booke of the generation of Iesus Christ, the sonne of Dauid, the sonne of Abraham.
Gen. Matthew 1:1  The booke of the generation of Iesvs Christ the sonne of Dauid, the sonne of Abraham.

In Chinese the word for Mother and cow are so similar that great care needs to be taken in the pronunciation. So also in Hebrew the pronunciation, the vowel sound and also the spelling of the word can dramatically alter the meaning.

The Hebrew word spelt with exactly the same Hebrew letters hey vav hey, which is pronounced "hovah" (as opposed to 'Hoveh') and which means "covetousness/wickedness".  Another reason why I don’t use versions of the Sacred name like: Jehovah, Yahovah, Yahvah and even Yahoveh.

Examples critical to the pronunciation of the Names of God and His Son include:

 

Name
Meaning
Havah trouble, destruction, mischief, passion.
Hovah trouble, destruction, mischief and ruin
Havah 3rd person past tense of 'to be'  i.e. he was
Heveyh Command form:  "be!" -  as in 'be lord over your brethren'  Gen. 27:29
Hivah 3rd person past tense - to cause to be, constitute
Hoveh present, present tense.
Hoveh 1st person, male, present tense - to be i.e. I AM  - though written with a double vav
Hovah female, do.

 

For my part I synchronise several Scriptures to attain a uniformity as in the following:

Numbers 6:27

And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Psalms 91:14

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

Isaiah 43:7

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Isaiah 52:6

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.

Isaiah 56:6

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 

The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

My own diligent searching has helped me settle on the following names, although there are many more:

        

The Universal Creator
His Name
God – The Almighty Yoahu
God as Creator Yaohu’ul
His Son Messiah Yaohushuah
His Chosen People Yaohudim
His chosen country Yaohudah

 

As for pronunciation, I have settled on the following:

 

Name
Pronunciation
Yaohu Yow Who : Yow as the ou in ouch
Yaohushuah Yow Who Shoe er
Yaohudim Yow who dim

 

The following verse is presented in the KJV and then with the names restored.

Psalms 86:12

I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

Psalm 86:12

I praise You O Yaohu my Elohim, with all my heart.

 In Hebrew I believe that there are 72 names for God. The use of each of these is dependant upon the context in which it is used and addresses a certain aspect of His nature.I do not know more than a few of them and I doubt that I ever will in this lifetime. I do not think that God is so critical or demanding that He would ignore His children no matter what reasonable name we use to call to Him. The greatest of all commandments is to Love God with all our Hearts, and this because He first loved us. How can we love a title? We need to have a name!

I do not think that we need to continuously use His name, but it does no harm to have it in our hearts and minds when talking to Him. I also think that God will know and honour our honest endeavours to seek His name and even if we end up with something not quite right, I believe that to be better than making His name nought.

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