The Use of the Name Yehovah
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As has been true for centuries, there is a real aversion among a number of Jewish sects to pronounce the Name Yehovah. This has to do with an extension of the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the Name of Yehovah thy God in vain.” But what does the Teaching of Yehovah truly state regarding these issues? This writing is dedicated to one who truly loves the Name Yehovah, and who has been outraged that His Name would be expunged from the lips of those who claim to know Him.
Folks have debated the derivation of the Name , Yehovah for years. Many scholars believe that it is more likely to have been pronounced Yahweh indicating breath or air, since God is a spirit. These scholars rarely seem to pay attention to the Biblical statement of the derivation of this name, and therefore, to its correct pronunciation. Before considering this, there was a pagan god named Javeh. Some have tried to link Yehovah’s name to this name. Those who go along with any relationship to either Javeh or Yahweh demonstrate great ignorance of the Scriptures.
Exodus 3:13-15 in Hebrew reads:
The literal rendering of this passage is as follows:
Exodus 3:13 And Moshe said unto the Elohim, “Behold I am coming unto the sons of Israel. And I will say to them, ‘Gods of your fathers sent me unto you!’ And they shall say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say unto them?” 14And Elohim said unto Moshe, “I Will Be Who I Will Be!” And He said, “Thus shalt thou say to the sons of Israel, ‘I Will Be sent me unto you!’” 15And Elohim said more unto Moshe. “So shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel, ‘Yehovah Gods of your fathers, Gods of Avraham, Gods of Isaac and Gods of Jacob sent me unto you!’ This is My Name to Hider. And this is My Remembrance to generation, generation.”
From the above, the term Yehovah must be related to the term I-will-be. Orthodox Jewish children taught in Orthodox schools learn what the Name means; they sing its meaning: “He will be, He is, He was.” The Name Yehovah is a contraction derived in the following way:
He will be+He is+He was
He will be, is, was.
The Bible often employs such contractions. Yehovah is abbreviated again to Yah, and is used as a Name in that form.
Since this is declared in Exodus, this is Yehovah’s own derivation of His Name. Anyone who desires to argue with this is arguing with the Torah. (Scholars who make their livings from the Bible are paid to argue against the Bible; expect this from them.)
In the famous passage known as the Shma, we have this command to Israel:
This literally reads:
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hearken-thou, Israel! Yehovah our Gods Yehovah is One! 5And thou shalt love Yehovah Thy Gods via all thy heart and via all thy being and via all thy very-much! 6And these speeches that I am commanding thee today shall be upon thy heart. 7And thou shalt repeat them to thy children. And thou shalt speak via them via thy sitting in thy house and via thy walking in the way and via thy lying-down and via thine arising.
The text commands, “thou shalt repeat them.” It gives no permission to change any of the words. Part of them is the Name Yehovah. If Yehovah had desired other words to be repeated into the children, including HaShem (the Name), Adonai (my Lords), or Elokim (an intentional variant of Elohim), He would have stated this in the Torah. When Yehovah gave “these words,” He meant what He said with all the authority of these words. Changing these words to other words is a sinful violation.
The next set of paragraphs will further explore this violation.
Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add upon the speech that I am commanding you and ye shall not diminish from him to guard the commandments of Yehovah your Gods that I am commanding you.
Deuteronomy 12:32 (KJV; 13:1, Hebrew) All the speech that I am commanding you: ye shall guard him to do. Ye shall not add upon him and ye shall not diminish from him.
If Yehovah commanded to repeat these words into the children, no one is permitted to change these words to other words, and no one is permitted to repeat the changed words into the children. Doing so is sin.
Rabbi Yeshua stated,
Matthew 5:17 “Don’t think that I am come to destroy the Torah or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18For I say faith unto you: until the heavens and land pass, one yod or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Torah until all is fulfilled! 19Therefore, whoever shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of the Heavens. And whosoever shall do and teach, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of the Heavens.”
It is typical for men to try to demonstrate their zeal for God by improving upon His Teaching. It is also typical for men to try to please other men by choosing to not offend men even at the risk of offending God.
Yehovah in His wisdom commanded the Israelis to swear via His Name. If they vowed, they were to use His Name. Thus, His Name had to be used for such solemn acts. They weren’t usually forced to vow, but when they did, they had to use His Name:
Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear Yehovah thy God and serve Him. And thou shalt swear via His name.
Deuteronomy 10:20 Thou shalt fear Yehovah thy God. Thou shalt serve Him, and thou shalt cleave to Him. And thou shalt swear via His name.
There are many titles for God, but they are not names. Elohim literally means gods, and this is also used for the false gods (as in Exodus 20 where Israel is commanded to have no other gods before Yehovah’s faces). Adonai means my lords, and it is also not a name, but a title. According to the command, the Israelis must use His name if he/she will vow.
This may seem like a strange question, but in the Psalms (for example) there are far more accolades given to the name Yehovah than to Yehovah Himself! These phrases may bring this to remembrance:
- Praise the Name Yehovah
- Glorify His Name
- Sing unto His Name
- Magnify His Name
Why would the text honour a name—a special title of identification—more than the holder of the name?
Isaiah 30:27 Behold, the Name of Yehovah comes from far; His anger is burning and the burden is heavy! His lips are full of indignation and His tongue is as a devouring fire! 28And His breath shall reach to the midst of the neck as an overflowing stream to sift the races with the sieve of vanity!
The Name is coming in this text. Yehovah Himself isn’t the subject of the sentence. If a careful reader were to follow the Name through the Scriptures, that reader would find the presence of this wording in the most curious places. Even in the text, “His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, etc.,” it is as if His Name is a person. The expected wording would be more like this: “His Messiah shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, etc.”
Yehovah taught His students the Name:
John 17:6 “I have manifested thy Name unto the men that thou gave me from the world. They were thine, and thou gave me them. And they have kept thy speech!”
John 17:12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them via thy Name. I have kept those whom thou gave me; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition so that the Scripture will be fulfilled.”
John 17:26 “And I have declared and will declare thy Name unto them so that the love with which thou hast loved me will be in them; and I will be in them.”
To manifest a Name is to make that Name become visible. Manifestation isn’t merely a matter of understanding, but a matter of visibility. Yeshua stated, “I have declared thy Name unto them.” This would be necessary only if they somehow didn’t know His Name! Thus, we see that the tradition of not using the Name had already come into practice, and Rabbi Yeshua corrected this practice among His students!
It struck me as both curious and inconsistent when I learned that religious Jewish communities refuse to pronounce the Name Yehovah, and often refrain from using Elohim, choosing instead to say Elokim. It is tradition when counting to change the number 15 (consisting of Yod, 10, + Heh, 5—the letters for Yah having the value of 10 + 5) from 10 + 5 to 9 + 6 just to avoid writing the Name Yah; yet the same tradition permitted saying Hallelujah and names like Jeremiah (YeremYahu in Hebrew, with Yahu being an abbreviated form for Yehovah). If the Name Yehovah is so special that it mustn’t be pronounced, the Name Yah is more special since it is far rarer in the Scriptures! The number 16 is likewise changed since it is Yod + Vov, or Yoh, a possible contraction of Yehovah (as used in the name Yo-el, Joel). Yet, these names are commonly employed by very Orthodox Jewish parents when naming their children; the Name is being used for very mundane purposes! If any non-believer in the God of Israel has the Name Yo-El, Joel, his very life is taking the Name in vain! This name is declaring a Biblical truth while the holder of the Name is declaring that ‘truth’ to be a lie! It also struck me that those who claim to have such a high regard for the Name Yehovah that they refuse to pronounce it would sing songs employing worlds like Hallelujah where the Name Yah is repeated over and over again (vain repetition of the Name is also against the Teaching of God), besides the contradiction of singing this Name at all. Is this ignorance, or is it hypocrisy?
Consider how the Name of Yehovah is being used in vain when singing a command employing it where the command won’t be carried out. Singing “Praise ye Yehovah,” which is “Commend ye Yehovah” (for specific things He has done) without hearers responding according to the command is giving a false command in His Name. In all the Psalms where His Name is so used, there is always a response with specific commendations! Psalm 150 is perfect example. The choirs sang the command and the People responded by commending Yehovah.
Some have the audacity (or ignorance) to use “Hallelujah!” as an expletive, like a religious person might use the expletive, “Hosannah!” or like a non-religious person might use “holy mackerel!” Yehovah will not hold him guiltless who uses His Name in vain:
Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11 Thou shalt not lift the Name Yehovah thy Gods to a vanity; for Yehovah will clear him who lifts His Name to a vanity!
Does a person desire to pursue Truth and pleasing God, or does one desire to not offend man and tradition even if it means compromising on the commandments of God? One who takes the latter view will not produce good fruit (in the Biblical sense). Anyone who fears God doesn’t concern himself with the traditions of man that violate obedience. Daniel knew that he was violating a new tradition by praying other than to the king; he did so, knowing it would be an offense. Yet, he stood firm. Yehovah honoured his stance. Man-pleasers cannot be God-pleasers. Truth cannot be compromised, even to avoid offense. A tradition that teaches contrary to Scriptures is a tradition that challenges the authority of Yehovah.
The term Lord (in Hebrew) basically means sir, and is a term of respect in view of rank or service. It is also a term of submission, and can be used of a slave toward a master. The term Baal (in Hebrew) also means lord, and is used of a woman toward her husband. It is also the name of a false god. It is used in much the same way as the term lord is used in religious communities around the world today. A Buddhist uses the term lord to refer to Buddha with the same zeal and love as Christians do. Lord is not a specific term. It describes a rank, a position; it doesn’t specify a person or the deity.
Matthew 7:1 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but rather, he who does the will of my Father Who is in the heavens. 2Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord! Lord, haven’t we prophesied in thy Name, and cast out devils in thy Name, and done many wonderful works in thy Name?’ 3And I will then profess unto them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from me, ye who work iniquity!’”
Who was this lord that these identified as being their lord? They were addressing some other being. They obviously used Lord often; that is why Yeshua used “Lord! Lord!” Some even did great things that would seem to prove that the power of God was with them. They were obviously fooled even if they helped others in the process; their work was iniquity! How strange it is that it is considered appropriate to use this term that is also used for all the pagan gods instead of identifying the god (God) in whom one truly believes by name!
Who is this Elokim? Who is HaShem? Who is G-d? Who is L-rd? As I mentioned above, Elokim is Elohim with the middle letter intentionally changed so as not to take the Name in vain accidentally. Whose idea was this? If one takes the ‘name’ Elokim in vain, is it any less serious than taking Elohim in vain if both refer to the same God? And who is HaShem (the Name)? Is this not the very One who is the bearer of the Name? And if HaShem is improperly used, is there less guilt than if the doer/speaker takes Yehovah in vain? Who is G-d? When I was young, I learned what G-d meant. It was used in literature replace “God damn.” Is it better to use G-d rather than God? Is it safer to use L‑rd rather than Lord?
Consider the following logic argument regarding a separate issue; see if this same argument can be used here:
Matthew 5:33 “Again, ye have heard that it has been said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shall perform thine oaths unto the Lord.’ 34But I say unto you, don’t swear at all—neither by the heavens, for it is God’s throne, 35nor by the earth, for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King; 36nor shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou can’t make one hair white or black!”
If we use this logic argument, using even part of a title of identification that is known to identify the One Whose Name is Holy is still using Him Who is Holy! So, why use HaShem when this only refers to Yehovah? And if this doesn’t refer to Yehovah (as Lord), why use it at all? It makes sense to use Lord in the Name Lord Yehovah, since Yehovah is clearly identified as being the specific Lord to whom one is referring. Otherwise, why follow the pagans who do the same practices?
I already discussed adding and subtracting or changing items in the Teaching (Torah) of Yehovah. This is a brief discussion of the concept of ‘placing fences around the Torah (Teaching). According to Jewish tradition, one reason why the God of Israel has been so angry with Israel is because Israel has not kept the Torah. (This is also Biblically true.) The rabbis felt that the Messiah will come when the Jewish People will faithfully keep the Torah, and the faces of Yehovah will return back toward Israel for blessing. The Jewish People (including all Jewish individuals) have not kept the Torah with its regulations, however. So, the rabbis felt that if regulations were made that would normalize the keeping of the Torah, and would guard individual Israelis much farther back from even coming close to breaking the Torah, this would bring the Jews into Torah compliance.
Thus, if the text stated not to seethe a goat kid in its mother’s milk, why not legislate that meat and dairy were not to be eaten in the same meal in order to keep an Israeli from accidentally doing this? But then, there might be the accidental mixture of meat and dairy if the same utensils were used to prepare meat and dairy. So, they legislated to have separate pans, pots, dishes, spoons, etc.: one for meat and one for dairy. They viewed this as placing a fence around the Torah to keep the Jewish People far from violating its commands. However, in the process of building this very large and detailed fence, they violated the Torah they sought to protect. They added many commands to the Torah, which is a violation of the Torah! Instead of increasing righteousness, it increased rabbinic discussions on the Torah and on this Fence which became, in effect, the ‘Jewish Orthodox New Testament’! If God had meant for them to do this, He would sent prophets to give this part of the written Torah.
Any oral transmission of information goes through changes after a while. Only written communications have greater certainty of being the same if great care in copying is employed.
This Fence around the Torah is called the “Oral Law,” and it is deemed as holy as the written Torah, or more so! It is deemed more binding than the written Torah by some very Orthodox groups! This certainly violates the written Torah given to Moshe.
The refusal to pronounce and use the Name Yehovah is part of the Oral Law. Thus, it is not a neutral choice; it is participation in wrong-doing. The use of the Name Yehovah is vital for any obedient Jewish person.
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, whosoever shall call on the name Yehovah shall be delivered: for deliverance shall be in mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as Yehovah said, and in the remnant whom Yehovah shall call.
Calling upon HaShem, the Name isn’t good enough; identify your God! Tolerate no fences around the Torah, the Teaching of the Gods of Israel!
I was amazed that the Teaching of God could be so easily switched around. While the Torah commands the use of Yehovah’s Name for swearing and for teaching children, and for anyone who will read the Scriptures out loud, it also prohibits the pronunciation of the names of false gods!
Exodus 23:13 “And ye shall guard via all that I said unto you. And ye shall not remind-of the name of other gods. He shall not hear upon thy mouth!”
Thus, Jewish tradition has reversed the whole command, and feels free to mention the names of the false gods, while not being at liberty to mention the Name of the True and Living God, Yehovah!
The following texts show something specific about the use of the Name Yehovah:
Psalms 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call via the name Yehovah.
There is a direct connection between taking the cup of salvation, and calling via the name Yehovah!
Psalms 116:17 I will offer the sacrifice of confession to thee, and will call via the name Yehovah.
Thee is separated from the Name Yehovah. The speaker states that he will offer to ‘thee’ (to Yehovah) the sacrifice of confession, and he will call—not upon thee, but rather the Name Yehovah.
Zephaniah 3:9 For then I will flip-over to the peoples a pure tongue to call—all of them—via name Yehovah, to serve him, one shoulder!
This is obviously a future event. At that time, they will all call via the Name Yehovah! But then, shouldn’t folks who believe the texts be doing so now?
Genesis 12:8 And he removed from there unto a mountain on the east of Bethel. And he pitched his tent. Bethel is on the west and Hai is on the east. And he built an altar there unto Yehovah. And he called via the name Yehovah.
He didn’t call on “HaShem.”
Genesis 26:25 And he built an altar there. And he called upon the name Yehovah. And he pitched his tent there. And Isaac’s servants dug a well there.
Neither Abraham nor Isaac feared to use the Name. Rather, they feared to not use the name.
1 Samuel 20:42 And Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace forasmuch as we have sworn both of us via the name Yehovah, saying, ‘Yehovah be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed forever.’”
This is an example of what it means to swear in the name Yehovah: “Yehovah be between me and thee.”
2 Samuel 6:18 And as soon as David had made an end of offering ascensions and peace offerings, he blessed the people via the name Yehovah of hosts.
Yehovah’s fuller name/title includes His military position!
Psalms 129:8 And they who go by don’t say, “The blessing of Yehovah is upon you; we bless you via the name Yehovah.”
This shows the proper way of blessing one via the name of Yehovah (although this is a negative text): “The blessing of Yehovah is upon you.”
Psalms 7:17 I will praise Yehovah according to His righteousness! And I will ‘ballad’ to the name Yehovah most high!
How does one ‘ballad’ to a name?
Psalms 20:7 Some [trust] in chariots, and some in horses. But we will remember the name Yehovah our God!
What individuals prove to have the desire to forget the Name more than those who refuse to make mention of it? In the Psalm, the speakers will remember that Name!
Psalms 102:15 The races shall fear the name Yehovah, and all the kings of the earth thy glory!
The races will fear the Name! They will only fear it if they knew what it is and Who it is!
Psalms 102:20 (Hebrew) For His Holy-[One] looked-down from the height! Yehovah peered from the heavens unto land 21to hearken to [the] groan of a prisoner, to open sons of death 22to scroll name Yehovah in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem 23via the gathering of unified peoples and kingdoms to serve Yehovah!
How does one scroll a name that isn’t ever mentioned?
Psalms 113:1 Praise ye Yehovah! Praise, ye slaves of Yehovah! Praise Name Yehovah!
How can one praise (that is, commend) a name? What can a name do? It must be a person!
Psalms 116:4 I then called upon Name Yehovah. Yehovah, deliver my soul, na!
(The Hebrew particle na is a softener of something that might sound like a demand; it is softened to something akin to a request or a non-demand.)
This text shows how this speaker will call upon Name Yehovah, and how the speaker will know that Name Yehovah and Yehovah are the same, and yet different.
Psalms 135:1 Praise ye Yehovah. Praise ye Name Yehovah! Praise, ye slaves of Yehovah!
The speaker commends Yehovah and then Name Yehovah as separate beings!
Psalms 148:5 They shall praise Name Yehovah! For He commanded, and they were created!
Who created? It doesn’t say that Yehovah created in this text, since Name Yehovah is being commended for this! Name commanded, and they were created!
Psalms 148:13 They shall praise Name Yehovah! For His Name alone is enfortressed! His glory is upon land and heavens!
How can a name be enfortressed? How can a being be enfortressed? If Yehovah can show up as a Rock that provides water, He can show up as a giant Rock Fortress. (Limiting Yehovah isn’t too smart.) If Name Yehovah is Yehovah and is separate from Yehovah, He also can easily show up as a giant Rock Fortress in which fleeing ‘good guys’ of Israel and of the races can escape! (Anyone who doesn’t believe that Yehovah can be in two places at the same time doesn’t believe in the Biblical Yehovah. Anyone who doesn’t believe that Yehovah can show up with a separate identity—that is, as Name Yehovah—has a very limiting view of Yehovah, and doesn’t believe in the Biblical Yehovah. Such a person truly will do better in Islam where the absolute oneness of their deity never permits their deity to take on separate identities.)
Proverbs 18:10 Name Yehovah is a tower of strength! The righteous-[one] runs into it, and is enfortressed!
This tower of strength will be a literal tower. The righteous person will run into this tower, and will be enfortressed from pursuing enemies. (These events will occur in the very distant Tribulation that is so well-described in the Bible.)
Isaiah 56:6 “And the sons of the foreigner joined unto Yehovah to minister-to Him and to love Name Yehovah to be to Him to slaves and to bless Name Yehovah, and every guard of the Shabbat from piercing him (her, Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah) and grasping-[ones] via my Covenant, 7and I will bring them unto the Mountain of my Holy-[One]! And I will rejoice them in the House of My Prayer! Their ascensions of her and their sacrifices of her shall ascend to desire upon my altar! For my House shall be called House of Prayer to All the Peoples,” 8declared my Lords Yehovah, Gatherer of expelled-[ones] of Israel!
Loving and blessing Name Yehovah must be significant and important. No one can say that he/she loves and blesses Name Yehovah who will not even pronounce that name, and who doesn’t even know what the name is!
Isaiah 60:9 For, islands shall hope to me, and ships of Tarshish in her first-[place], to bring thy sons from a distance, their silver and their gold with them, to Name Yehovah thy Gods and to Holy-[One] of Israel! For He bright-glorified thee!
They will bring these physical things to the Name Yehovah and to the Holy One of Israel; “For, He (not they) bright-glorified thee!”
Amos 6:10 And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he who burns him, to bring out the bones from the house. And he shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, “[Is any] yet with thee?” and he shall say, “No.” Then shall he say, “Hold thy tongue! For we shall not make mention of the name Yehovah!”
These conversing folks during an extreme time of oppression didn’t feel the freedom to make mention of the Name Yehovah. What is the excuse, today?
Micah 4:5 For all the peoples shall walk—a man via the name of his gods. And we, we shall walk via Name Yehovah our Gods to Hider and onward!
That will be a great day! There will be no fear or reluctance because of potential offense to do so!
Everyone who fears Yehovah of Hosts, the Gods of Israel, use His Name! Use it properly! Don’t be like others who shout that “God is his name!” (That makes as much sense as shouting regarding a hero, “Person is his name!”)