Jehovah (יהוה)

INDEX:
*Ancient Uses of The Name
*Substituting the Title LORD for God's Name
*Jehovah in the NT
*Objections to Using God's Name in the NT
*Uses in Hebrew Text Untrustworthy
*Corruptions of Messianic Prophecies
*The Question Raised at Hebrews 1:10-12
*Forgetting God's Name
*Objections to the English Pronunciation

Ancient Uses of The Name

What appears to be the first secular mention of the Divine Name is found in an inscription on an Egyptian temple dating from as early as the Mid-14th Century BCE (the period of Israelite Judges). It clearly seems to mention the Israelites as 'the (ta) Nomads (Shasu) of Yehwah (Ye-h-ua).'

Where did the Name originate? Well, we get the impression that it was the Name that The God chose for Himself, for He appears to have first spoken it to Moses when telling him to go in His Name to deliver IsraEl from Egypt (see Exodus 3:13-15). However, the Name may have earlier roots among mankind, for Genesis 4:26 (when speaking of a pre-flood man named Enos) reads in Greek, 'elpisen epikaleisthai to onoma Kyriou tou Theou,' or, 'he/believed to/call/upon the Name Lord [Jehovah] his God.' This is similar to the words of the Hebrew text ('then began to/call the/Name יהוה'). However, other translators have chosen to imply a more negative meaning to the text.

That the name Jehovah (which means, He who Causes to Be, or, The Creator, or possibly even The Life Giver) was originally in the Bible, is documented in all ancient Hebrew texts. In fact, it is found in the most ancient existing copy of the sacred writings, known as The Silver Scrolls, which is dated to the 8th Century BCE. And it is most likely that the Septuagint translation which Jesus and his Apostles used (most quotations they gave seem to have come from an ancient Septuagint) carried the Name in those four Hebrew characters that represent the English consonants YHWH (יהוה), known as the tetragrammation (four letters).

Notice this comment by Robert Hanhart, who contributed the Introduction to 'The Septuagint as Christian Scripture.' He stated therein that, 'All Greek biblical texts of Jewish origin found to date, whether from pre-Christian or Christian times, transmit the name יהוה Jehovah not in the form κύριος [Lord] encountered in all the LXX [Septuagint] manuscripts of Christian origin, but in some form of the Tetragrammaton.' (See: 'The Septuagint as Christian Scripture,' 2002, book, p.7, by Martin Hengel. Introduction by Robert Hanhart, published by Baker Academic. ISBN 0-8010-2790-X).

Substituting the Title LORD for God's Name

The word that is translated lord (gr. kyrios) is found throughout the Bible in Greek texts and is usually used as a term of respect for men, such as a king, governor, or homeowner… and it is also frequently translated as master. So, whenever you see the term master used in the Bible, recognize that it is translated from the same Greek word as lord. And as translators, it's easy to see how inappropriate it is to always refer to God as 'the Lord,' because of its common application to mortals. This practice was started by later Jewish copyists who became afraid to write the Name, and the custom was adopted by translators of English Bibles in the Fifteenth Century. Yet even then, those early translators showed where God's Name once appeared in the Hebrew text by capitalizing all the letters, as in LORD (see Exodus 6:1). And in the King James Bible, the Anglicized Name Jehovah still does appear in four texts (see Exodus 6:3 as an example).

According to Bible historians; by the 1st Century-BCE, the Jews had become so awed with God's Name that they refused to write it or say it. So, it isn't surprising that God's Name was omitted from the later texts. The fact that God's Name was once there is well substantiated from ancient Bible manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In fact, a verse in the Jewish Talmud claims that Jesus received his miraculous powers because he had sewn the Holy Name under his skin… which indicates both their (his enemies') recognition of Jesus' miraculous powers and the common view of God's Name at the time (see the link ' What the Talmud Says about Jesus' under the subheading, The Description of Jesus in the Toledot Yeshu).

Notice how (in the book of Isaiah, for example) God is often referred to in the Greek text as Kyrios ho Kyrios, or, Lord the Lord. And these are obvious examples of texts where God's Name was omitted, for such sentences should clearly read the Lord Jehovah. You can see this if you examine the actual Hebrew letters at Isaiah 48:16… then notice how they are have been translated there.

Jehovah in the NT

Although there are no remaining ancient Christian Era Scripture (New Testament) manuscripts that contain the full name Jehovah, there are four reasons why we believe that it existed in the original text. They are:

Š The Name is found in many of the ancient Hebrew texts that are quoted by Jesus and his disciples

Š Jesus mentioned God's having a Name in 'The Lord's Prayer,' and at John 5:43, 10:25, 12:13, 17:26

Š The Name still appears in a combined form in Revelation, where the word hallelujah is used (Hallel means praise, u implies second person, and Jah is a shortened form of Jehovah).

Š The fact that Christians who lived in Jerusalem were still worshiping at the Temple of Jehovah late in Paul's ministry proves that they still viewed Jehovah as their God (see Acts 21:20-26).

We know, of course, that God's Name was wrongly removed from the OT sometime after the deaths of the Apostles, so it's not surprising that it was removed from the NT as well. Note for example, the words of 2 Timothy 1:18: 'So, may the Lord grant him mercy from Jehovah in that Day.' in Greek this reads, 'doe auto ho Kyrios eurein eleos para Kyriou en ekeine te hemera,' or, 'may grant to/him the Lord to/find mercy from Lord in that the day.' As you can see, two 'Lords' are mentioned here. But if Paul was speaking of just Jesus, he would have written: 'May the Lord grant him mercy in that day.' However, he was clearly speaking of Jesus granting the man (Onesiphorus) mercy from God (Jehovah).

So, this Bible is one of two that we are aware of which uses God's Name in the Christian Era Scriptures, and that makes it quite unique. However, unlike the other Bible that does so, you will see that we have avoided using it in places where the Greek words ho Kyrios could in fact be speaking of Jesus, using the name Jehovah mostly in quotations from Hebrew texts that are clearly speaking of The God and are not prophecies about Jesus. And wherever there is a question about this, we have simply translated it as 'the Lord.'

Objections to Using God's Name in the NT

Some have objected to putting the name Jehovah in the Greek text, for they say that that use of the Name would have been offensive – and might have resulted in stoning – if Jesus and his disciples had actually spoken it. Yet, the Name had to be used when preaching to the Gentiles, or they simply wouldn't have known which Lord the disciples were talking about (remember, they were polytheistic). And to call God the Lord when most gods (and many men) were also called lord, would have been confusing to all whom Jesus' disciples preached, both Jews and Gentiles. So, we question whether the use of God's Name was considered as offensive prior to Jerusalem's destruction by the Roman armies (70-CE). Also, it is hard for us to imagine Jesus being afraid to speak the Name of his Father.

Another common argument we've heard against using The Name in the Christian Era Scriptures (NT), is that it was the time of Jesus, and all mention of the Lord referred to him. However, numerous texts prove that simply isn't true. And again; it is hard for us to imagine Jesus pushing his own name over the Name of his Father.

But, since the words the Lord seem to have been substituted by Jewish and Christian copyists everywhere that God's Name originally appeared, it is in fact difficult for us to know where to reinsert the Name in place of the title, since the title appears to be the correct choice in many places. We could refer to the Hebrew texts and insert it wherever the Name appears there, but as you'll see below, the Hebrew texts frequently appear to be wrong. So, wherever the term the Lord appears in obvious reference to The God and its use is in line with good grammar and Hebrew poetry, we have decided to insert the name Jehovah. And in some cases, especially where there is no chance of confusion about who is being spoken of, we have used either term to better support the poetry of the texts.

Uses in Hebrew Text Untrustworthy

The rule that other translators have adopted for inserting God's Name is to simply use it wherever the Tetragrammaton (יהוה) appears in the oldest existing Hebrew texts (which aren't that old). However, it can be proven that such insertions are unreliable. For example, there is the instance when AbraHam was talking to three 'men,' one of whom he referred to as the Lord. In this case, AbraHam was obviously speaking to a messenger from The God (likely His representative, MichaEl), because as God told Moses: 'No man can see God and live.' So in such instances, we have left the term 'Lord' unchanged, because that is likely the same as the word which AbraHam used.

Also, in the writings of many of the Prophets, you will notice that they often say that they were being spoken to by one of God's messengers, whom they respectfully referred to as the Lord (not Jehovah). For example, consider the wording of Jeremiah 2:1: 'Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, Go and yell in the ears of Jerusalem! Tell them that thus says Jehovah…' As you can see in this case, 'the Lord' (messenger or angel) was bringing a message from Jehovah (third person). So in this Bible, you'll see an interspersing of the term the Lord when the text appears to be referring to the angel messenger, and Jehovah when it appears to be referring to The God.

Yet we have found verses where an angel was actually addressed as though he were The God. This is the case of the person to whom Moses was speaking at the burning bush. For at Exodus 3:2, we read: 'And there, Jehovah's messenger (gr. aggelos kyriou) appeared to him in a flame that was burning in a bush.' However, we read at Exodus 3:4 that יהוה (Jehovah) was speaking to him. So although Moses recognized that the person who was speaking was just a messenger (angel), he also understood that the words were coming from The God.

That the person who was speaking to Moses was truly a messenger from God is confirmed by Stephen's testimony before the Jewish High Court (Sanhedrin), where he testified (at Acts 7:30) that Moses was speaking to an angel. Yet, notice that the angel went on to say (at Exodus 3:6): 'I am the God of your ancestors… the God of AbraHam, the God of IsaAc, and the God of Jacob.' Therefore, in the next verse (Exodus 3:7) we have rendered the text as reading, 'Then the Lord told Moses… ' (although the Masoretic Hebrew text says that יהוה told Moses). Why? Because you can clearly see that it wasn't יהוה speaking, but just a messenger. Is there a chance that Moses was just confused about who was speaking to him? Such a supposition is doubtful, since he's the one who wrote the verses that said the person was an angel.

We also find this same type of text corruption in the Bible book of Judges. For example, the American Standard Version Bible renders Judges 6:18 as saying: 'And Jehovah said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.' Yet, look at who was really talking to him. In a previous verse (12); the same Bible says: 'And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him, and said unto him, Jehovah is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.' It is interesting that the Septuagint (Greek) text of Judges 6:18 reads this way: 'Kai eipen pros outon ho aggelous Kyriou Kyrios, Estai meta sou, kai pataexeis ten Madiam osei andra hena,' or, 'And said to him the messenger (angel) of the Lord Lord (Jehovah), I/am with you, and you/shall/strike the Midianites as man one.' So it appears as though the Hebrew text and the use of the Name יהוה is simply wrong and the Greek text is right!.

Notice again the wording of Amos 4:12, 13, where the one who gave the message to that Prophet (apparently the Lord Jesus in his pre-human state) definitely spoke of Jehovah in the third person, though he is apparently saying that he actually did much of the work of creating; for there he said:
'Because of such things, O IsraEl;
Both this and that, I'll then do to you,
Until you are ready to call to your God!
Look! I am the one who sends thunder…
I'm the one who created the wind,
And the one who tells men about [God's] concerns
.
For, He sends the dawn and the fog,
And He rides across the heights of the earth…
He is Jehovah, the Almighty God!'

Notice again the words of Hosea 1:7, which say:
'Yet, by the power of Jehovah their God,
I will show mercy upon Judah's sons,
And I will bring them salvation.
I won't save by the bow or the broadsword,
Nor by the battles of horses and horsemen.'

Also, notice the words of Amos 7:7, where we read, 'Then the Lord [took me] and showed me… and {Look!} there was Jehovah standing upon a straight wall holding a plumb line in His hand.'

Why, even when God spoke to His people from the Sacred Mountain (SinAi) and gave the Ten Commandments; notice that the one who was doing the speaking referred to God in the third person (His, not My) in Exodus 20:7, when he said: 'You must not misuse the Name of your God Jehovah; for, Jehovah your God will not forgive those who misuse His Name.

Also, notice that the term, the Lord (ho kyrios) would have been used by Hebrew writers whenever they were speaking of God poetically and a previous or following verse used the name Jehovah. For the rules of Hebrew poetry require the following verse to be written as a simile (using not the same, but similar words). As an example, look at how we have correctly rendered Job 15:25:
'For, against Jehovah, he has lifted his hands,
And before the Lord, he has stiffened his neck.'

Another important place where it appears as though the term the Lord should be used instead of the Name Jehovah, is where people do something in His Name, as in James 5:10, which speaks of 'Prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.' For, since Jehovah is God's Name (in English), they would not be speaking in the Name of Jehovah (which is His Name), but in the Name of the Lord (Jehovah). Yes, this could be an arguable point, but where there is some question and the understanding isn't changed, we believe it is better to take a cautious approach, since we have found too many errors in uses of The Name.

How did such corruptions get into the Hebrew texts? Notice that most removals of the Name happened during the latter half of the 1st Century. So by the time of the Masoretic scribes in the 5th Century (who are largely responsible for our modern 'ancient' Hebrew texts), it appears as though the Divine Name had already been removed from their scrolls, and at some later date these scribes simply inserted the Tetragramaton (the four sacred letters) wherever they thought it should have been. This becomes obvious when you take into consideration all the points mentioned above.

Corruptions of Messianic Prophecies

We have received several letters complaining about our using the term the Lord rather than the Name Jehovah in several other places, such as at Joel 2:32 (and Paul's reference to that same scripture at Romans 10:13). Notice how we have rendered that scripture:
'Then, all who call on the name of the Lord (heb. יהוה) will be saved, said Jehovah (יהוה).
For, to Mount Zion and JeruSalem,
Will come a person who saves,
Announcing good news to all those,
Who have been called by Jehovah
(יהוה).'

You can see that this is a clear example of how the Jewish translators (the Masoretes?) have added the Tetragrammaton to replace a reference to someone who would be sent by Jehovah to rescue and announce good news, or, the Messiah. For God did not say, 'who have called on MY NAME,' but rather, the text shows that He was speaking of a third party (likely 'the Lord' Jesus).

Recognize that one of the problems with the corrupted Masoretic (Hebrew) text is that there are many evidences (such as this) of tampering to remove Messianic prophecies, which other Bible translators have simply overlooked. For if you read the context surrounding Romans 10:13, you will see that it was definitely speaking of Jesus, not יהוה.

Another such corruption of a Messianic prophecy can be found in the 50th and 51st Chapters of Isaiah, which are a bit confusing, because God is clearly spoken of in the third person there, but sometime later it seems as though He speaks in the first person. In fact, this Messianic prophecy continues with a shifting of tenses all the way to the end of Chapter fifty three! To what can this be attributed? To the fact that the speaker in all cases is the same… 'the Word of God,' His spokesman.

The Question Raised at Hebrews 1:10-12

Probably the most striking and confusing reference to the Lord is found at Hebrews 1:10-12, which says:
'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth, and [you] made the heavens with your hands. But they'll pass away while you still remain; for like clothes, they will grow old. Then, as [you would do to] a robe, you will wrap them up and repair them. Yes, you're the one and your years will never expire.'

As you can see, the reference to the Lord here appears to be speaking of The God (Jehovah). And if you go back to the scripture Paul was quoting (Psalm 102:24-27), you'll find that the Hebrew text of verse 24 doesn't say 'Lord' (gr. kyrie), but, 'my God' (heb. Eli). Thus the conclusion most have reached is that Paul was talking about The God at Hebrews 1:10. Yet, notice that the entire First Chapter of Hebrews is discussing Jesus and his special position before God. And the reason why Paul quoted Psalm 102:24-27 was to make the point that Jesus made the heavens and the earth, that he will remain through the ages, and that he will eventually rebuild (repair) them after they grow old.

So, either Paul misapplied this scripture (which seems unlikely), or especially the Hebrew version of Psalm 102 has been badly corrupted through the years… which our research proves is possible. As the result (because the answers are unclear), we have deviated from our rule of capitalizing the first letter of the words You and Your in many places in Psalm 102 and Hebrews 1, and from inserting the Name Jehovah wherever its use may be in doubt. However, this opens another can of worms, for it brings into question the accuracy of major portions of the Hebrew text and the use of the Tetragrammaton rule altogether!

In attempts to find a compromise between the differences in these verses, some have suggested that since Jesus 'shines with the same glory, is the exact image of His (God's) being and is responsible for everything that's said through His power' (as we were told at Hebrews 1:3), anything that is said about God also applies to Jesus… perhaps.

Of course, the easy answer to why Paul quoted Psalm 102 in reference to Jesus, is because Jesus is actually Jehovah, as many theologians claim. But this is proven untrue by the other words in the same First Chapter of Hebrews. For, notice the following verses:

Š Hebrews 1:3: 'He sat down at the right hand of the Great One in the highest places.'

Š Hebrews 1:4: 'He has become so much greater than the [other] messengers [of God] and so different, that he has inherited a [special] name among them.'

Š Hebrews 1:5: 'For example; to which of His [other] messengers did He ever say, You're my son. Today I've become your Father. Or, I will become his Father and he will become My son.'

Š Hebrews 1:9: 'You loved righteousness and hated wickedness. That's why God (your God) anointed you with the oil of great joy among those who are your partners.'

Š Hebrews 1:13: 'And to which one of His messengers did He ever say, Sit here on My right until I set your enemies as a stool for your feet?'

(For more information on this subject, please see the linked document, 'Who Was Jesus?')

Forgetting God's Name

Forgetting God's Name is a practice that has a long history with the Jews; for apparently, they were trying to do this during the time of the Prophet JeremiAh (sometime in the early Seventh Century BCE). Notice that we read at Jeremiah 23:27:
'They've come up with ways to forget My Name;
Then they use their dreams to describe to their neighbors,
How their fathers were the ones who've forgotten My Name,
And turned to the service of BaAl.'

Then, what about the deletion of God's Name in the Christian Era Scriptures? Recognize that most early Christian Congregations (and especially those in Judea) were predominantly made up of Jews, and their traditions seemed to have had a strong negative effect on Christian conduct and doctrine throughout the world. For example; almost all of Paul's letters (Romans through Hebrews) contain strong references to Judaizers in the congregations, and this influence likely led to substituting Lord for God's Name in Christian writings after the deaths of the Apostles.

Perhaps Christians would more deeply appreciate the need to use the name Jehovah rather than the title 'Lord,' when referring to The God, if they understood that the term 'the Lord' in the language of the Canaanites was 'BaAl' or 'BeEl.'

Objections to the English Pronunciation

Then, what of those who prefer a more exact Hebrew pronunciation of the Name, which can be Yahweh (Yah-h'-Wĕh), Yahwah (Yah-h'-Wah), or Yehwah (Yĕh-h'-Wah)? That is commendable if their reasons are consistent. For if their concern is to properly pronounce Bible names (not a hatred for God's Name as it is pronounced in English), they will also be found promoting the proper Hebrew pronunciation of His son's name, Ieshuah (Ye-Shuah), or Iehoshuah (Yĕ-h'-shuah)… or at least the proper pronunciation of his name in Greek, Iesous (Yay-sous). But then they would also have to start changing hundreds of other Bible names containing a J (such as John, Jeremiah, Jonah, Jerusalem, etc.), and they would find that almost every other Bible name is currently mispronounced in the English language. So we find a certain pretentiousness in those who go out of their way to properly pronounce the Name of The God, but continue to mispronounce all other Bible names.

How important is it to pronounce God's Name in the same way as did the ancient Hebrews? Consider the fact that First-Century Christians seemed to easily change the name of His son between its Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek spellings and pronunciations, depending on the language that they were speaking. So clearly, the correct pronunciation of names wasn't all that important to them. What do we learn from this? That arguing over the exact pronunciation of God's Name is a wasteful diversion from more serious matters.

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