How important is a name? Very. One’s name is most important, especially when that one is the Deity we worship. We might ask another question: “What is in a name?” Biblically, one’s name is not only the identity of the person but the very essence, or presence of the person. This principle is magnified to the nth degree when Yahweh is in view. Somethings important to know about the proper name of God follow.
The Hebraic Concept Of The Proper Name Of A Person, As It Relates To Yahweh
Tetragrammaton: The letters “YHWH” known as the Tetra-grammaton stand for the covenant name of God throughout the Old Testament. The Tetragrammaton is from the Greek τετραγράμματον, meaning “four letters” and refers to the Hebrew theonym (Hebrew: יהוה) it is transliterated to the Latin letters YHWH. (While YHWH is the usual transliteration of the tetragrammaton in English academic studies, the alternatives YHVH, JHVH and JHWH are also used. ) It is derived from the verb that means “to be,” and is the proper name of the God of Israel used in the Hebrew Bible. Due to the Jewish fear of accidentally taking God’s Name in vain (Leviticus 24:16), they basically quit saying it out-loud altogether; this took place about the third century B.C.. (The avoidance of the original name of God both in speech and, to a certain extent, in the Bible was due, according to Geiger ("Urschrift," p. 262), to a reverence which shrank from the utterance of the Sublime Name; and it may well be that such a reluctance first arose in a foreign, and hence in an "unclean" land, very possibly, therefore, in Babylonia. According to Dalman (l.c. pp. 66 et seq.), the Rabbis forbade the utterance of the Tetragrammaton, to guard against desecration of the Sacred Name; ) Instead, when reading, they substituted the actual Tetragrammaton (which is only the consonants of the Divine Name “YHWH” since Hebrew is not usually written with vowels included) with the word Adonai (Lord). Even in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament) the translators substituted Kurios (Lord) for the Divine Name. Eventually the vowels from Adonai (“Lord”) found their way into the consonants YHWH, thus forming “YaHWeH.” When the King James translators rendered the Bible into English they followed the Jewish tradition of substituting YHWH with the word “Lord” in all upper case letters to indicate that it stood in place of the Tetragrammaton. According to actual count, the Tetragrammaton occurs 5,410 times in the Bible, being divided among the books as follows: Genesis 153 times, Exodus 364, Leviticus 285, Numbers 387, Deuteronomy 230 (total in Torah 1,419); Joshua 170, Judges 158, 1&2 Samuel 423, 1&2 Kings 467, Isaiah 367, Jeremiah 555, Ezekiel 211, Minor Prophets 345 (total in Prophets 2,696); Psalms 645, Proverbs 87, Job 31, Ruth 16, Lamentations 32, Daniel 7, Ezra-Nehemiah 31, Chronicles 446 (total in Hagiographa 1,295; Hagiographa |ˌhagēˈägrəfə, ˌhāgē-| pl.noun the books of the Bible comprising the last of the three major divisions of the Hebrew scriptures, other than the Law and the Prophets. The books of the Hagiographa are: Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles. Also called the Writings). “Yah,” an abbreviated form of the Tetragrammaton, occurs 23 times: 18 times in the Psalms, twice in Exodus, and three times in Isaiah. This form is identical with the final syllable in the word “Hallelujah,” and accounts for the power of that particular praise.
For some time the Tetragrammaton was pronounced as “Jehovah.” In the early 19th century, Hebrew scholars were still critiquing “Jehovah” [a.k.a. Iehovah and Iehouah] because they believed that the vowel points of יְהֹוָה did not represent (and were never intended to represent) the vowel sounds of the early authentic pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. The Latin pronunciation of the letter I/J as a consonant sound was the ‘y’ sound of the English word ‘you.’ This changed in descendant languages into various stronger consonants, including, in English, the sound [dʒ], the ‘j’ sound of the word ‘juice.’ Thus the English pronunciation of the older form Jehovah has this ‘j’ sound. In order to preserve the approximate original Hebrew pronunciation, however, English spelling uses an initial Y, and for the third consonant uses W, a letter unknown in Latin, thus producing the form Yahweh. This name is pronounced: Yahweh. (Yahweh: The Hebrew scholar Wilhelm Gesenius [1786–1842] had suggested that the Hebrew punctuation יַהְוֶה, which is transliterated into English as "Yahweh", might more accurately represent the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton than the Biblical Hebrew punctuation "יְהֹוָה", from which the English name "Jehovah" has been derived. His proposal to read YHWH as "יַהְוֶה" was based in large part on various Greek transcriptions, such as ιαβε, dating from the first centuries AD, but also on the forms of theophoric names. In his Hebrew Dictionary, Gesenius supports "Yahweh" (which would have been pronounced [jahwe], with the final letter being silent) because of the Samaritan pronunciation Ιαβε reported by Theodoret, and that the theophoric name prefixes YHW [jeho] and YH [jo] can be explained from the form "Yahweh". Today many scholars accept Gesenius's proposal to read YHWH as יַהְוֶה. Gesenius' proposal gradually became accepted as the best scholarly reconstructed vocalized Hebrew spelling of the Tetragrammaton.) Wherever the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) appears in the KJV it is translated Lord in all upper case letters. See, for example Exodus 6:3 and 15:3,
“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord (YHWH) I was not known to them” (Ex 6:3 NKJV). ∼ The KJV has “Jehovah” for the Tetragrammaton in this place.“The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.” ∼ In this text, both times YHWH appeared the KLV translators rendered it as “Lord.” This pattern holds true throughout the KJV and NKJV Old Testaments.
Lord Is Not His Name
As elementary as this may sound, it needs to be pointed out that the Father’s name is not “Lord.” In the early days of the author’s ministry, while traveling across the nation preaching revival meetings, he came into contact with a number of ministers who taught very sincerely (on the strength of Exodus 6:3 and 15:3) that the actual name of the Father was “Lord;” consequently, then, the name “Lord” (according to them) had to accompany the name “Jesus” for baptism to be valid. These ministers only knew the King James Version of the Bible. They only read English, and, in fact, had an aversion to Bible study which employed study sources other than the actual Bible. Hopefully, these minister have grown in their understanding and have moved beyond this embracing position. to understand that Adonai (Lord) was a “place holder” for the Tetragrammaton (YHWH).
Defending the Tetragrammaton
Before we move from this point we will speak a few words in defense of the Tetragrammaton; in that it is under attack as being a very late (3rd or 2nd century B.C.) name for Israel’s God—borrowed from the pagans.
What we will show here is evidence of YHWH during the 7th and early 6th centuries B.C. Our comments will concern an archeological discovery associated with temple and private worship. The discovery is associated with the formal blessing, or benediction, recorded in Numbers 6:22-26,
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
In 1979 Gabriel Barkay was excavating an area on the outskirts of Jerusalem in the backyard of St. Andrews church. He had a group of 12 and 13 year old kids helping him. They discovered some tombs, but they were empty—having been looted long ago.
One boy, Nathan, was given the task of cleaning out the dirt from the nooks under the burial benches. Like a true boy, he started banging the nook with a hammer. It broke, revealing an entrance to a secret chamber containing more than 1000 objects. There were 125 objects of silver, 40 iron arrowheads, gold, ivory, glass, bone, 150 semi-precious stones, and skeletons. The objects dated to the late seventh and early sixth centuries B.C. Among the objects were two, tiny rolled-up silver scrolls 1” long.
It took three years to develop a process to unroll them without breaking them to pieces. Once opened, it was discovered that they contained ancient Hebrew writing.
Amulet I (3.8” x 1.1”) reads: [...]YHW...the grea[t...who keeps] the covenant and [g]raciousness toward those who love [Him] and those who keep [His commandments...]. The Eternal? [...]. [the?] blessing more than any [sna]re and more than Evil. For redemption is in Him. For YHWH is our restorer [and] rock. May YHWH bles[s] you and keep you. [May] YHWH make [His face] shine...”.
Amulet II (1.5” x .4”) reads: “[First line almost completely illegible.] May h[e]/sh[e] be blessed by Yahweh, the warrior [or “helper”] and the rebuker of [E]vil: May Yahweh bless you, keep you. May Yahweh make His face shine upon you and grant you p[ea]ce”.
Both amulets contained the same inscription: “May Yahweh bless you and keep you; May Yahweh cause his face to shine upon you and grant you peace.” This is a near quote of the priestly benediction in Numbers 6:24-26.
- This is the oldest copy of any portion of Scripture in existence.
- This is good evidence against the liberal critics who said the Pentateuch was a late, post-exilic creation—post fifth century; when it is being quoted in the late seventh or early sixth century B.C.
- It contains the second-oldest reference to “YHWH.” The oldest known inscription of the tetragrammaton dates to 840 BCE, on the Mesha Stele. (The Mesha Stele (also known as the "Moabite Stone") is a stele (inscribed stone) set up around 840 BCE by King Mesha of Moab (a kingdom located in modern Jordan). Mesha tells how Kemosh, the God of Moab, had been angry with his people and had allowed them to be subjugated to Israel, but at length Kemosh returned and assisted Mesha to throw off the yoke of Israel and restore the lands of Moab. Mesha describes his many building projects (Rollston 2010, p. 53–54.)
- It bears the earliest certain extra-biblical reference to the Israelite God Yahweh.
- It is proof that the tetragrammaton (the name of the Hebrew’s God, therefore of Father God), consisting of the four letters yod, he, vav, and he, transliterated consonantally usually as YHWH, now pronounced as Adonai in substitution for the original pronunciation forbidden since the 2nd or 3rd century B.C.) (YHWH) was the name of God known to Judah seven hundred years before Christ. Therefore, those attacking the Tetragrammaton as being a third or second century introduction to Hebrew religiosities are mistaken at the least and knowingly blaspheming at the worse.
The Tetragrammaton’s Association With the Name “Jesus”
Jewish Encyclopedia.Com makes the following observation concerning the connection between the Tetragrammaton and the name of Jesus: “The cures, or the exorcisms, of demons in the name of Jesus which are mentioned in the New Testament and the Talmud imply that Jesus was regarded as a god and that his name was considered as efficacious as the Tetragrammaton itself, for which it was even substituted.”
The Place Where Yahweh Dwells
Exodus 20:22 and vs 24.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “... In every place where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.” (NKJV)
This passage establishes the promise of Yahweh, that His presence and blessing will be wherever His name is recorded. The Lord will choose a particular place for His name (YHWH) to be recorded. In Deuteronomy 12:11 “Then there shall be a place which the Lord thy God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there;” Yahweh’s name (YHWH) equals His presence: See vv 12 and 18. “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ... 18. But you must eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God chooses, ... and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all to which you put your hands.” Because the Lord’s name was placed in the temple, what was done in the temple was said to be done “before the Lord your God.”
The Lord chose to place His name (YHWH) in His temple in Jerusalem: 1 Kings 8:29; 9:3. During Solomon’s prayer of dedication he reminds YHWH of His promise to meet His people where His name was placed: 1 Kings 8:29. King Solomon prayed it this way: “... that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place.” Later the Lord (YHWH) says: “I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3).
In the time of national trouble the name of the Lord (YHWH) in the temple was Israel’s great hope. We see the assurance of this from II Chronicles 20:8-9, “And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.” (NKJV) The temple was a SANCTUARY for the name of the Lord (YHWH) v 8. The Lord’s name (YHWH) being in the temple caused His presence to be in the temple: v 9: “in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple)” (NKJV). The Prophet Amos foretells of the total destruction of the temple (Amos 9:1-10) and of it being replaced by the TABERNACLE OF DAVID (Amos 9:11-12). The prophecy of Amos was fulfilled when the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem with its Temple in 70 AD. (See Mathew 23:37-38; 24:2, 34).
According to James (the Lord’s half brother) the TABERNACLE OF DAVID, which replaced the temple, is the New Testament Church: Acts 15:15-17.
The TABERNACLE OF DAVID (as prophesied of by Amos and brought into existence by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost) includes all races upon whom the name of the Lord (YHWH) is called: Amos 9:12 and Acts 15:17.
“That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” Says the Lord who does this thing” (Amos 9:12 NKJV).
The Hebrew of this text is literally as the text is quoted in the book of Acts: “Upon whom my name is called.” That name is YHWH. Acts 15: 17 “…upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord (YHWH).” The word “called” (in Acts 15:17) is the Gk word “epikaleo.” Epikaleo: “To put a name upon someone, the name of one is named upon someone” Thayer.
A New Testament example of the use of “epikaleo” is found in James 2:7. “Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” ∼ Literally, “Do not they blaspheme that noble name that was called upon (over) you at one time in the past, that, then, produced a result that continues to the present?” The name of Jesus is called upon (epikaleo) believers. Here “epikaleo” is aorist tense, which means it was a one-time calling that produced a result which continues. The invoking of the name of Jesus remitted the sins of the person it was called upon and placed the baptized into Christ. The results, of the calling of the name in baptism, continues on forever—in faith.
Concerning Matthew 28:19 W. E. Vine states: ‘“Baptizing them into the name’ would indicate that the baptized person was closely bound to, or became the property of, the one into whose name he was baptized.” ∼ The name of the LORD called, in faith, upon a believer assures the presence and blessings of God in said believer’s life. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19, the believer’s physical body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
The result, then, is that the name of the Lord (YHWH) is recorded (Ex 20:24) upon (epikaleo) His temple (the person of the believer) at baptism, making all believers, collectively, the TABERNACLE OF DAVID upon whom the name of the Lord is called (Acts 15:16-17). One may see this played out in the apostolic church when Ananias tells Saul to get his sins washed away by having the name of the Lord Jesus called upon himself (Acts 22:16). James, in his Epistle, speaks directly to this when writes “Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?” (NASB). The Amplified Bible reads: “Is it not they who slan-der and blaspheme that precious name by which you are distinguished and called [the name of Christ invoked in baptism]?”
Why The Name: Jesus?
Why this name, only? Acts 4:12 states clearly that there is “… salvation in … none other name…” Exactly, what is it about the name of Jesus that is unique to itself? We may begin to understand by observing that we are told in Matthew 1:21, “You shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Therefore, the very name given to Mary’s baby has an association with salvation from sins. So, lets look at this name.
Our English name, Jesus, is the Greek “Iesous.” According to Strong’s Concordance #G2424, the original of the Greek “Iesous” is the Hebrew “Yehowshuwa.” Yehowshuwa is defined by Strong’s (#H3091) as being from two Hebrew words: Yehovah, which is Jehovah (YHWH, Strong’s #H3068), and yasha (Savior; or bring salvation; Strong’s #H3467). Therefore, the Hebrew Yehowshuwa comes into Greek (the language of the New Testament) as Iesous, which, in turn, comes into English (the language of our Bibles) as Jesus, which translates to “Jehovah/Yahweh Savior” in all three languages. The profound truth is that the English name, “Jesus,” is the New Covenant name of Yahweh (YHWH) God, to English speaking people. The tetragrammaton (YHWH) is easily seen in the Hebrew name for “Jesus:” Y e H o W s H u w a.
When two passages, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, are juxtaposed the identity of Yahweh with Jesus is clearly seen.
The Name Is The Same; The Person Is The Same
Isaiah 45:22-23, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righ-teousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”
Philippians 2:10-11 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Yahweh Is Not A Shared Name
Yahweh (Hebrew: יהוה; transliterated to the Latin letters YHWH), is the Old Testament name of Father God. The God of Heaven stated in Exodus 6:3 “By my name YHWH (Yahweh) was I not know to them.” As we have already mentioned YHWH (We will employ the name Yahweh for the tetragrammaton) is used for the name of God at least 5430 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. According to the Psalmist Yahweh is the name but one only, and no other. He wrote it this way: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Yahweh, (The KJV has Jehovah better rendered as Yahweh; the original Hebrew has YHWH. The Masoretic text (Hebrew) from which the OT KJV was translated followed the Jewish tradition since long before Christ of not writing the tetragrammaton but every where YHWH appeared the Hebrew word for “LORD” (Adonai) was substituted.?) art the most high over all the earth” (Ps 83:18). The truth of truths is that only one has the name Yahweh. The Shema is everywhere confirmed through the Word of God: “Sh’ma` Yis’ra’El Yahúwah ‘Eloheynu Yahúwah ‘echad” (given here reading from left to right) “Hear, O Yisrael! Yahweh is our El, Yahweh is one!” (Deut 6:4). It must be acknowledged that “Yahweh” is not the family name of three individuals. Yahweh is an exclusive name for the exclusive One Sentient Almighty God Being.
The revelation of who Jesus is comes biblically to the disciple when: first he understands that: one, and only one person/being/ individual has the name Yahweh, and two, when it is seen clearly that Jesus is called Yahweh.
- The prophet Jeremiah identifies the Messiah (Christ) as being Yahweh Tsidkenu. Jeremiah wrote it this way: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, 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. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jer 23:5-6). The prophet declared the “Righteous Branch (Jesus Christ) would be “Yahúwah tsid’qenu” the “Yahweh our righteousness.” Only one has the name of Yahweh.
- The prophet Zechariah foretold that the Messiah would be Yahweh who would be pierced: “In that day saith the Lord ... they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, ...” (Zech 12:4, 10). “Saith the Lord” Hebrew: “n’um-Yahúwah.” the one pierced in v10 is Yahúwah of v4. We know for the New Testament that the one pierced is Jesus Christ. Therefore Zechariah declared Jesus to be Yahweh—only one has the name of Yahweh!
- John the Revelator Identifies Jesus with Zechariah’s Yahweh pierced. This is how John writes it: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev 1:7).
Above, we read: “Yahweh” is not the family name of three individuals. Yahweh is the exclusive name of the exclusive One Sentient Almighty God Being.” It was needful to say that, though it may have not been clear why, at the moment. Now we address it directly. The pluralists (especially Trinitarians), realizing that Jesus is identified as Yahweh, are fond of arguing for “Yahweh” being the group name of all three persons/individuals of their Godhead. We are told that each one of the three are called Yahweh, and further, that they are called Yahweh as a collective. This blasphemy is asserted even in the face of such texts as Psalms 83:18 speaking of God with single pronouns and says that only one has the name “Yahweh.” Then there is the prophet Isaiah to consider. Isaiah records the words of Yahweh as saying that He would never pollute His name by giving His glory to another (Isa 48:11). From Yahweh’s lips to our hears: He will never give the glory of His name to another. The integrity of His name is safeguarded by the fact that only One has the name and only One welds the power and authority that is the NAME. It is for no reason that orthodox Jews, holding that the Name is too holy to speak, call their God “HaShem:” The Name. (HaShem: It is common Jewish practice to restrict the use of the names of God word to use in a liturgical context. Therefore in casual conversation, some Jews, even when not speaking Hebrew, will call God "HaShem" (השם), which is Hebrew for "the Name" (cf. Leviticus 24:11 and Deuteronomy 28:58). Likewise when quoting from the Tanakh or prayers, some pious Jews will replace God's name Adonai by "HaShem". For example, when making audio recordings of prayer services, HaShem  will generally be substituted for Adonai. A popular expression containing this phrase is "Baruch HaShem", meaning "Thank God" (literally, "Blessed be God"))
Not that further proof is needed, but what follows will help defend this Bible absolute from mischievous perverters of God’s Word.
The pluralist claim that Yahweh is also the name of the human Son of God. Now, notice, we Modalist do claim the deity of Jesus of Nazareth to be Yahweh in very fact; just not another Yahweh. What we deny is that the human Christ was/is Yahweh. The dual nature of Jesus must be protected and everywhere declared: Jesus has existence on two planes that while distinct yet commingled as one person. When the Father Yahweh addressed the Son (the human Christ) in the Old Testament, it is clear from the address that the Son was not Yahweh. Notice:
- Isaiah 49:8, “Thus saith the Lord, In an accept-able time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;” ～ It can little be argued but that the one speaking is Yahweh; notice “Thus saith the Lord,...” This is the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), and the one being addressed is not Yahweh. Most particularly Yahweh is addressing Israel and prophetically the future King of Israel—the Son of Man, who is not Yahweh.
- Psalms 110:1, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” ～ Psalm 110 is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament, vs. 1(at least 25 times) and vs. 4 (5 times). It shines Christologically as bright as the noon-day sun. Here King David plays the role of poetic prophet, receiving from God in heaven a revelation of the coming Messiah that joins company with Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. Notice that the Lord said to David’s Lord... The First Lord is the speaker throughout this particular Psalm and is Yahweh. We English readers know this because the word is in all capital letters. The second Lord is not Yahweh. We English readers know this because it is not written in all uppercase. Here, David’s Lord is, of course his descendent Jesus the Messiah who was/is not Yahweh.
- Psalms 2:7 “...the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” First it is acknowledged that Yahweh (Father God) is speaking to His Son who is not Yahweh. Second, it is acknowledged that David is speaking in the first person as the Messiah and speaks of the day of His conception as being present. This is a prophetic present. David speaks as the Christ and speaks of the day when the Angel spoke the Word to Mary and she conceived by the Holy Spirit as being present.
In none of the above passages was the Son referenced as Yahweh. These texts demonstrate the distinction between Yahweh and His Son. Any time this type of distinction is made in Scripture it is ALWAYS showing the distinction between the Deity and the human Christ. The pluralists wish to make THIS Son of God “a” Yahweh. There is but one Yahweh, and he will not share His glory with any other.