Yahweh

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All right, what do we do with the word "Yahweh"?  I get so many letters asking if we are to use this name, and only this name. Is it wrong not to use it? If I use this name, will it bring me any special added benefits?  No, to all questions.

But you say, there are those who have shown me text after text that shows that we are to use the name of "Yahweh" and that it is very important. Okay, they may show you text after text, but not one of those texts has the original word in it. They may say "Yahweh", but "Yahweh" is not the original word.  (See last chapter.)

The word in the Hebrew is

01961 hayah {haw-yaw} a primitive root [compare 01933]; TWOT - 491; v AV - was, come to pass, came, has been, were happened, become, pertained, better for thee; 1) to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen

 

The above quote is from the Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Concordance. Let me explain a little bit, again, about the Bible. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, with about six chapters written in Aramaic. The New Testament was written entirely in Greek except for about one chapter in Aramaic. "The ancient Hebrew text consisted only of consonants, since the Hebrew alphabet had no written vowels. Vowel signs were invented by the Jewish Masoretic scholars in the sixth century A.D. and later." Compton’s Interactive NIV.

Now that last is very important. NO VOWELS were used in the original writing of the Old Testament, and no spacing between the words. The actual word for what we call "Yahweh" was written, "YHWH".  Now, tell me if you would, how do you pronounce that? You can’t. To explain it so you can understand the problem more clearly, this is the problem they faced: "lvyvrymchndwntytbsvd."  What did that say? That said, "I love you very  much and want you to be saved." Did you figure that out on your own? That is the problem with trying to build a theology around the word "Yahweh".  It can't be done.

 

Now, both the Old and New Testaments were written without punctuation. They were written without any "chapter" or "verses". Therefore, you did not go around in Christ’s day quoting, Genesis 5:7.  There was no such thing. You simply did what Christ did, you stated the book you were quoting from and you either knew it or you didn’t.

"The chapter divisions we use today were made by Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1228. The division of the New Testament into its present verses is found for the first time in an edition of the Greek NT published in 1551 by a printer in Paris, Robert Stephens, who in 1555 also brought out an edition of the Vulgate that was the first edition of the entire Bible to appear with our present chapters and verses. The first English Bible to be so divided was the Genevan edition of 1560." Compton’s Interactive NIV

Okay, all I’m trying to say is, be very careful about people who run around saying this or that about the Bible. Especially when it comes to pronunciations. Keep in mind we are speaking in English and the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek. Just that fact alone should make you very cautious about any pronunciations.

Not only did they not write in the vowels, they didn’t even use, or pronounce the name, "YHWH". "At a late date it became a matter of binding scruple not to pronounce the divine name, and Jews (in reading the Scriptures) customarily substituted the noun adhonai, which means ‘Lord.’" Compton’s Interactive NIV

Now, how are you, an English speaking person, going to know how to pronounce a name that was written without any vowels, in another language, and was not even pronounced because the Jews felt it was to holy to say the name? They lost the pronunciation for that name. It is no longer known.

YHWH

Therefore, any such arguments about the name Jehovah or Yahweh are stupid and unprofitable for anything. Drop it and let it go. The devil is the only person you make happy with such stupidity. God is saddened by the wasted time we spend on such nonsense.

"But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels . . . because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned." Titus 3:9-11.

 

Since we don’t know what the actual word was that was used, most modern translations simply use the word, "LORD" when applying it to that person designated by YHWH. That makes sense. Let’s keep it simple so we know who we are talking about. God is pleased with that.

What then do we call Jesus? We call Him what the Bible says to call Him. You can call Him any of the over 40 names that are used to designate Him. Read your Bible carefully and see how many names and titles He has. Then use which ever one you like. Jesus is more interested in your obedience, than in what you call Him. In John 14:15 Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." He did not say, "If you love Me, you will call Me by such and such a name." Keep that in mind, and let’s get on with obeying Him:

1.  Be perfect

2.  Stop sinning

3.  Keep the Ten Commandments to keep your eternal life

That is all Jesus wants of us.

That is the everlasting gospel from Genesis to Revelation.

 

One other point of interest. The person in the Old Testament with the designation YHWH is the One we call Jesus in the New Testament. At no time did Jesus ever rebuke anyone for calling Him Jesus, or Christ, or Messiah, or King, or Lord, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call Him. He just wants you to call on Him all day long.

In fact, when the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him how they were to address the Father, how they were to pray, Jesus did not explain to them the "proper" way to use YHWH. If it was important, if it "pleased" Jesus or the Father to be called that special Name, then Jesus would have made that perfectly clear. He did not. Instead, He used a very common, colloquial expression of endearment, "Pater" in the Greek. This word means, "Father". You will find this over and over again in the New Testament (Matthew 6:9). Don't be a hypocrite (Matthew 6:5) and tell people what name they must use to "please" God. He is only pleased if you call on Him to help you to obey Him in order to get rid of sin in your life.

So, why was there such an important emphasis placed on “YHWH” in the Old Testament? I believe that Jesus had/has special names to designate His many roles and positions in His work in Heaven and on Earth. In Heaven, Jesus is called “Michael”. That is His Heavenly name. In the Old Testament Jesus, at the time of Moses, was called “YHWH”. When God gave the name “YHWH” to Moses to give to Israel, it was as a “memorial” of their coming out of the land of bondage. It had nothing to do with “salvation” or “eternal life”. They were to remember this special name for the special work God did in delivering them from the bondage of Egypt. If it had to do with eternal life, then we have a real problem. Everyone, before Moses would have been without eternal life. That would include Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. None of them knew God by “YHWH”. For 2,500 years no one had known the name “YHWH”. In fact, before Moses, they knew God only by the name “Eloheem”. (Genesis 32:30). Are they all lost? NO! Salvation has always been the keeping of the Ten Commandments. God has never changed His salvation rules. “YHWH” was only for Israel. Exodus 3:13-15; 6:2, 3. In the New Testament the angel said, “You are to give Him the name Jesus.” Luke 1:31.. Each name was a special meaning for His different responsibilities. “Jesus” means, “to save”. That is what Jesus came to do, save us from our sins. Until He died He was not our “Savior” from sin.

There were many activities which were needed and required in the Old Testament but not needed today, but lost their significance in the New Testament.

The name "YHWH" Circumcision
Temple Services Levitical Priesthood
Sacrifices of the Lamb Stick to dig a poop hole  (Deut. 23:12-14)

These and many more were done away with at the cross and when Israel ceased to be a nation. They are no longer important. They never were important for salvation. The only thing that is important for salvation is, "Circumcision is  nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts." 1Corinthians 7:19.  If you want to be pleasing to God, never teach "YHWH" to anyone as being important or "pleasing to God". That attitude is not pleasing to God.  However, you can call Him what the angel said to Him: "You are to give Him the name Jesus." Luke 1:31