What is

God’s Name?

 

How is it Pronounced?

and

Should We Use it?

 

Central Highlands

Congregation of God

 

 

What is God’s Name?

Table of Contents

Introduction

Why is God’s Name Not in Most Modern Bible Translations?

What is God’s Name in the Hebrew Scriptures?

Who Uses God’s Name?

What Does Jehovah Mean?

God’s Nickname

MarJah in the Aramaic Peshitta

Lord and the Greek Scriptures

Origin of Yahweh

The Aramaic Peshitta Preceded the Greek Manuscripts

Titles or Names?

Should We Use God’s Name?

The Name of God’s Son

Our Father

Who Do We Follow?

Appendix 1: Jehovah in Fifty Places

Appendix 2: Names, Titles and Functions of God our Father

Appendix 3: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Words

 

Praise Jah!  Praise the Name of Jehovah;

Praise, O you servants of Jehovah!

You who stand in the House of Jehovah, in the courts of

the House of our God, praise Jah, for Jehovah is good;

sing praises to His Name, for it is pleasant.

For Jah has chosen Jacob for Himself,

Israel for His special treasure.

For I know that Jehovah is great,

and our Lord is above all gods.

Psalm 135:1 to 5

 

Introduction

It is widely taught that we should not use Jehovah as God’s Name, but instead we should only use LORD and GOD to refer to our Christian God, as is done in many popular Bible versions.  This article shows how ancient Bible manuscripts reveal that our God’s name is Jehovah and that they explain exactly how to say it.  We also highlight Jehovah’s desire for us to know that He is our God and that He wants us to know and use His Name.

 

We will present evidence that the name Jehovah has been used by our God and His followers from the creation of Adam and Eve through until today.  We also look at the use of the contraction (familiar nickname) of God’s name to Jah, used in the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek scriptures.

 

Jeshua (Jesus), the name of God’s Son is also investigated, and we show that the formal version of His name goes all the way back to Joshua and Moses in Scripture.

 

We also look at the widespread disuse of Jehovah today and explore some of the reasons why this is so.

 

Why is God’s Name Not in Most Modern Bible Translations?

Let us begin by examining why most English Bible translators substitute Jehovah, our God’s personal name, with the titles LORD or GOD, even when they are translating from the Hebrew Old Testament (OT), which actually has God’s name clearly written in it almost seven thousand times.

 

The following quote from the Preface to the English Standard Version (ESV), 2011 Text Version Holy Bible, published by Crossway reveals how they look at this issue:

 

        The Translation of Specialised Terms

In the translation of biblical terms referring to God, the ESV takes great care to convey the specific nuances of meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek terms. First, concerning terms that refer to God in the Old Testament: God, the Maker of heaven and earth, introduced himself to the people of Israel with a special personal name, the consonants for which are YHWH (see Exodus 3:14-15). Scholars call this the “Tetragrammaton,” a Greek term referring to the four Hebrew letters YHWH.  The exact pronunciation of YHWH is uncertain, because the Jewish people considered the personal name of God to be so holy that it should never be spoken aloud. Instead of reading the word YHWH, they would normally read the Hebrew word ́adonay (“Lord”), and the ancient translations into Greek, Syriac, and Aramaic also followed this practice.  When the vowels of the word ́adonay are placed with the consonants of YHWH, this results in the familiar word Jehovah that was used in some earlier English Bible translations.  As is common among English translations today, the ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) with the word LORD (printed in small capitals).  An exception to this is when the Hebrew word ́adonay appears together with YHWH, in which case the two words are rendered together as “the Lord [in lower case] GOD [in small capitals].”  In contrast to the personal name for God (YHWH), the more general name for God in the Old Testament Hebrew is ́elohim and its related forms of ́el or ́eloah, all of which are normally translated “God” (in lower case letters).  The use of these different ways to translate the Hebrew words for God is especially beneficial to the English reader, enabling the reader to see and understand the different ways that the personal name and the general name of God are both used to refer to the One True God of the Old Testament.

 

The ESV is one of the more literal popular Bible versions around, so their unwillingness to retain God’s name is disappointing.  There are many false, or at best misleading, statements in their explanation of why they refuse to use what they acknowledge as God’s “special personal name” in their Bible.  Apart from using YHWH eight times and Jehovah once in their Preface (shown above) they only use YHWH once and only as a footnote to Exodus 3:15 in their entire Bible.  In stark contrast with the ESV translation, Jehovah is actually used over six thousand, eight hundred times in the Hebrew Old Covenants (OC) manuscripts.  Unlike these translators, Jehovah is proud of His name and wants us to know that He is the author of our Bible.

 

But the ESV is not alone in removing God’s name.  The Tyndale, Rogers and Coverdale (TRC) Bible, published in 1535, only translate Jehovah correctly 22 times.  The Geneva Bible, (1560), uses Jehovah eight times (Genesis 22:14, Exodus 6:3, 15:3, 17:15, 23:17, 34:23, Judges 6:24 and Psalm 83:18).  The Authorised Version (AV), also called the King James Version (KJV), first published in 1611, further reduces the translation of Jehovah to four times (Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4).  The newer RSV, NAB, NASB, NKJV, NIV, GNB, GWT, NRSV, NCV, CEV, ESV, TEV, MEV, etc., all totally ignore God’s name and do not translate it as Jehovah even once.

 

A handful of versions use Yahweh or YHWH as God’s name (eg. the Emphasized Bible, HCSB and Jerusalem Bible).  Positively, there are a few translators, including Young (1862), Darby (1890), ASV (1901), NWT (1961), Green (Literal 1985, KJ3 2010), CHCoG (2009, 2020) and Bauscher (2013) that do translate Jehovah as God’s name faithfully in the OC.  But their translations are ignored by nearly all mainstream churches.  This systematic removal of Jehovah from English Bibles and church usage is a very disturbing trend.1  It explains why many Christians really do not understand that Jehovah is the actual Name of our God, our Creator, our Sustainer, our Saviour and the real author of our Bible.

But let’s return to the errors in the ESV preface.  Though they claim to take “great care to convey the...meaning of...Hebrew...terms”, they actually work hard at obscuring God’s name.  Let us examine the original Hebrew, inspired by God, and then see what the ESV translators do to it.

 

The following image of Genesis 3:14 is from Jay Green’s The Interlinear Bible:

 
The numbers above the Hebrew are the Strong’s numbers for each word. The words below the Hebrew are Green’s translations for that word.  Remember that Hebrew is read right to left.  The text on the left is from his Literal Translation of the Bible.  Strong’s Lexicon2 confirms that Green’s translation of Jehovah (3068) is correct:

03068. יהוה Y@hovah yeh-ho-vaw’; from 01961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah.

 

The Tetragrammaton (the Four Letters) referred to in the ESV Preface can be seen immediately after the Strong’s 03068, which are spoken as Yod Hey Vav Hey, the consonants of God’s name.  Personal names such as Noah, Moses, Isaiah, Jehovah, etc are normally transliterated into English, rather than translated to the nearest equivalent word as is done with common words.

 

The next Hebrew word is אֱלֹהִים Elohiym, Strong’s number 430, which is Hebrew for God.  Green correctly translates this pair of words as Jehovah God.

 

 

Here is the ESV translation for the first part of this verse:

 

So the ESV has correctly translated God.  But as Green’s Interlinear and Strong’s Lexicon show, LORD is neither a transliteration nor a translation of Jehovah.  The ESV has actually mutilated Scripture by taking away Jehovah, our God’s personal name, and replacing it with the generic title of LORD, using subtle small caps to confirm they know this is what they have done.

 

To see another way they do this, let us look at Green’s Genesis 15:2:

 

This time, both the Hebrew and Green’s have ‘Lord Jehovah’, with Lord coming from Strong’s number 136, אֲדֹנָי ́adonay, which is actually Hebrew for Lord and once again Jehovah is there from 3068.  This is what the ESV does with it:

 

So this time they correctly translate Lord, but then they again take away Jehovah and replace His name with the title GOD, with their  small caps again confirming they know they have done this.  These two examples clearly show that they know what Lord, God and Jehovah are in the Hebrew, but they deceitfully substitute Jehovah with these two distinctly different words.  Only those who have read their lengthy Preface would realise that God’s name has been systematically stripped out.

 

Also contrary to the ESV preface claim, the Bible does not combine the Four Letters (the Tetragrammaton) and the vowels of ́adonay to create an incorrect hybrid name.  As will be verified in the next section, the correct Biblical pronunciation of our God’s name is Jehovah.

The ESV translators are using two old myths from Judaism to justify their actions, which are: (1) Jehovah is so holy it cannot be spoken and (2) as a consequence, how to pronounce God’s name has been forgotten.  The truth is that the Bible records many incidents of many people, both ordinary and remarkable, speaking and praising our God by His name of Jehovah through thousands of years.  But these truths are hidden in most translations by these LORD and GOD substitutions.  And as you will see, their other claim that the Syriac and Aramaic manuscripts follow their LORD and GOD substitutions for Jehovah is another lie.

 

It seems that the ESV and the many other translators who take away Jehovah’s name do not want to believe that Revelation 22:18-19 applies to them.  Though they presumably want their names written into Jehovah’s Book of Life, they have disrespectfully deleted Jehovah’s name from His Holy Scriptures.  Though the followers of Judaism will not speak God’s name, at least they still retain His name written in their Hebrew Bibles.  As the reasons these translators give for their substitutions are untrue, why are they really doing it?  One wonders if it is part of an ecumenical plan to replace Jehovah with a different God, a bland generic one that is acceptable to most religions.

 

What is God’s Name in the Hebrew Scriptures?

As we have seen, God’s name in Hebrew has four letters (consonants), which are יהוה (Jod Hey Vav Hey).  The Hebrew letters, like their words, are read from right to left.  The closest English transliterations (again reversing the letter order) for these letters are YHWH or JHVH depending on which Hebrew dialect you prefer.  These Four Letters are basic unpointed Hebrew, meaning that they are missing the vowels which are added are marks around these letters.  But we have much more than these letters in the Bible codices.  Below is a scan of God’s name in Hebrew with full vocalisation from the first line of Genesis 3:14.  This is scanned from the ancient Leningrad Codex B19A, which was written in 1008 CE (AD), and is our oldest fully vocalised3 and complete Hebrew Old Covenants manuscript.  Jehovah being fully vocalised means that all of the vowels and accents have been included, so we can know beyond any doubt exactly how God’s name is to be pronounced.
 
For clarity, the digitised copy is below:4
 
Jehovah, God’s name, is the middle word.  The phrase translates literally as “So-said Jehovah God (Elohim):”.  This is the first of the fifty times Jehovah occurs fully vocalised in this Leningrad Codex.5  The Codex can be downloaded from the Internet Archive6 and the digitised version from https://www.tanach.us/Server.html?genesis* to confirm these are accurate copies.  You can also compare this to the Hebrew used in Green’s Interlinear, shown earlier, which is identical, though he is using the 1866 British and Foreign Bible Society Masoretic text.

 

Let’s look closely at what this ancient Hebrew Bible, more than one thousand years old, actually says God’s name is.

The first Hebrew consonant is י (Yod, also pronounced Jod), which should be transliterated as Y or J.  Though both are acceptable, we believe the J has a long history of use, as will be shown below.

 

In this fully vocalised example of God’s name, there are two vertical dots below the Jod (יְ) .  These are called Sheva, and they create a short ‘e’.

 

The second consonant is ה (Hey, pronounced as ‘he’ or ‘h’).   So we now have “Jeh” as the start of God’s Name.

 

However, the ה (Hey) has a pointing above it, a single dot called a Holam ׂה which is pronounced as full ‘o’.  This point inserts an ‘o’ after the Hey, giving us “Jeho”.

 

The third consonant is ו (Vav, pronounced as v).  Now we now have “Jehov” as most of God’s Name.

 

There is a third vowel pointing below the ו (Vav), which is a Kamatz:  ' The וָ Kamatz is usually pronounced as ‘a’, giving us Jehova.

 

Then there is the last consonant, another ה (Hey), which adds the final ‘h’ to God’s name, giving us His full Name: Jehovah.

 

It is pronounced pretty much as it is spelt: Je-ho-VAH, with the emphasis on the last syllable.  We know this because there is an accent mark above the ו (Vav): ו֨ called a Cholam, which indicates that this is the strongest syllable of the word.7

 

As noted above, Jehovah appears fully vocalised like this 50 times in the Leningrad Codex.  The Aleppo Codex, almost eleven hundred years old and written by different scribes, also contains God’s name of Jehovah fully vocalised twelve times, and it has also been found in over one thousand Hebrew manuscripts, which are all confirming witnesses to His Name.

 

The other 6,733 times God’s name is in the Leningrad codex, the scribes have not written the dot (called the Holam) above the first ה (Hey).  This means there is no ‘o’, which makes God’s name the incorrect and therefore “unpronounceable” Jeh-vah.  Below is an example of God’s name with the missing Holam, from Genesis 3:13.8
 

And in a clear digital version:

 

The phrase shown above translates as “And-said Jeh-vah God”.

 

Jeh-vah achieved what the scribes were forced to do.  Initially, they preserved Jehovah’s Word during times of apostasy when Israel turned to other gods such as Baal and Jehovah’s commandments and even His very Name were rejected.  Later, Israel’s Roman conquerors banned speaking Jehovah’s name as they wanted the Jews to worship their Emperor instead of Jehovah.  Then the corrupt Jewish religious leaders tried to save face by claiming that it was their idea to stop using God’s name as they now believed that Jehovah was too sacred to speak.  Despite all these issues, the Masoretic scribes quietly copied and inserted the pointings for God’s full name into the Aleppo and Leningrad codices here and there.  Although these Jewish scribes rejected Jeshua as the Messiah, they did believe that they worshipped Jehovah and they wanted to honour His Name by ensuring that people could always learn how to pronounce Jehovah by carefully reading their manuscripts.9

 

As we have seen, the Leningrad manuscript renders God’s name as Jehovah.  Although it is frequently stated that the vowel pointings in God’s name are the vowels of ́adonay (Lord in Hebrew), it can be clearly seen that neither of these versions of God’s name use the vowels of ́adonay (which are AOAY, while Jehovah uses EOA and Jeh-vah uses EA).  That claim is a lie intended to keep people from actually looking at these Bible codices and discovering that God’s name -Jehovah- is clearly written there for us to see and use.

 

The following table of Jewish translations from the Hebrew show what they think God’s name is.

 

This table, and the quote below it, are based on https://researchsupportsthetruth.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/why-is-gods-name-missing-from-many-bibles/

 

Jewish Translator

Year of Publication

Language

God’s Name

Immanuel Tremellius

1579

Latin

Jehova

Baruch Spinoza

1670

Latin

Jehova

Samuel Cahen

1836

French

Iehovah

Joseph Magil

1910

English

Jehovah

L. Golschmidt

1921

German

Yehovah

Alexander Harkavy

1936

English

Jehovah

 

“... non-superstitious Jewish translators always favored the name Jehovah in their translations of the Bible.

On the other hand one can note that there is NO Jewish translation of the Bible with Yahweh.”

—M. Gérard GERTOUX

 

There is no room for doubt that Jehovah (and/or Yehovah) is God’s name.  We will look at the dubious origin of Yahweh later in this article.

 

Who Uses God’s Name?

The Hebrew scriptures show Eve (Genesis 4:1 [Chavvah]), Noah (Genesis 9:26), Abraham (Genesis 21:33, 22:14), Isaac (Genesis 26:22, 26:25), Jacob (Genesis 28:16, 32:9),10 Moses (Exodus 5:1), David (1 Samuel 17:45), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:12), Zechariah (Zechariah 12:1) and many others addressing God by His name of Jehovah across a span of 3,500 years.  The Aramaic New Covenant (NC) shows that Jeshua (Matthew 4:4) and His Apostles (Acts 2:34, Acts 7:37, Jacob [James] 2:23, 1 Peter 1:25, Jude 1:4, Romans 4:8, Revelation 15:4) also knew, loved and used Jehovah as God’s name.  We are now spanning over four thousand years of people calling our God Jehovah.

 

The oldest Aramaic NC manuscripts we have today appear to be copies made about four centuries after Christ.  They refer to Lord Jehovah by the contraction of His name to Lord Jah (MarJah in Aramaic – more on this below).  Combining these New Covenant Jahs with the Old Covenants scriptures, we have God’s name used seven thousand times!  We believe this is clear confirmation that the Aramaic NC is the authorised completion of God’s Word.  Next we have the Aleppo and Leningrad Hebrew codices (referred to earlier) from about 930 and 1008 CE.  As noted above, another point at which God’s name Jehovah is recorded is in the Tyndale TRC translation of 1535.  It seems likely that he learned the spelling and pronunciation of Jehovah from the Sephardic Jews in Europe, who had retained this knowledge of God’s Name from antiquity.  And Jehovah has remained in use as God’s name up to this day.  So there is a six thousand year history of God’s name being Jehovah which goes all the way back to the first woman, the mother of us all.

 

A related question is who calls their God “Lord”?  The Bible shows us that the Canaanites called their god Baal.  Baal simply means Lord.  Lord was the title that they used to refer to their main god Hadad, who was the king of their gods and also their god of war, fertility and storms.  Baal (Lord) worship included sexual immorality and perversions and even child sacrifice (Hosiah 4:12-14, 2 Chronicles 28:2-4).  The Canaanites developed the habit of calling him Lord instead of Hadad because they believed he was a fierce and unforgiving God.  By not using his actual name, they hoped they might avoid drawing Hadad’s attention and then his punishment to themselves.  However, Jehovah our god is a god of love and mercy, who wants to have an intimate relationship with us (John 17:20-24).  Why would we imitate the Canannites and be afraid to call out to our Father Jehovah?

 

One other thing to consider is this: God’s name often appear in constructs such as Lord Jehovah and Jehovah God, where He adds the titles of Lord and God to His name.  In what way does reducing these phrases to Lord GOD and LORD God give honour to God’s name?11

 

As Psalm 135:1 says, we are to “Praise the name of Jehovah”.  Converting Jehovah God to “LORD God” is misusing God’s name in a worthless way.

 

As Jehovah is the name of our God, Jehovah is therefore a sacred name, which is why it should only be used in a respectful way.  And whenever we use His name, we can be sure that He is fully aware of it.  But Jehovah is not a magical name.  Anyone who thinks that they can make God do something for them simply by speaking ‘Jehovah’ is totally mistaken.  That situation is like the one in First Samuel chapter 4, where the Israelites tried to force Jehovah to help them by taking his Ark into battle.  Jehovah refused to submit to their demands.  If we want Jehovah’s help, we must be willing to live in harmony with His will (1 John 5:14).12

 

What Does Jehovah Mean?

Jehovah, our God’s special personal name has several meanings: “the One Who Is”, “the Self-Existing”, “Giver of Life”, “the One Bringing into Being”.

 

Nehemia Gordon gives some insight into the derivation of Jehovah in this quote from his article The Pronunciation of the Name:13

 

They point out the connection between the name of YHVH and the root HYH to be. This connection is explicitly made in Ex 3:13-14, where we read,

"(13) And Moses said to God, Behold when I am coming to the children of Israel and say 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you', and they say to me, 'What is His name?', what should I tell them? (14) And God said to Moses, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I am that which I am), and He said, thus shall you say to the children of Israel, 'Ehyeh has sent me to you'." (Exo 3:13-14).

 

So Moses asks YHVH what name he should give the Israelites when they asked about God. YHVH replies that Moses should say that he was sent by Ehyeh which is a verb from the root HYH, to be, meaning "I am". Immediately after declaring Himself to be Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, YHVH further explains that His eternal name is YHVH:"

(15) And God said further to Moses, thus shall you say to the Children of Israel: 'YHVH the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me to you, this is my name forever, this is my mention for every generation'" (Exo 3:15).

 

But how can YHVH be related to HYH, to be? In Hebrew the letters Vav ו and Yod י are weak letters which are sometimes interchangeable with one another. For example, the word yeled    יֶלֶד (child) has a variant form valad וָלָד in which the usual Yod is replaced with a Vav. We find a similar replacement in the root HYH to be. The present tense of the verb HYH to be is הוֶֹה hoveh (Ecc 2:22) with the Yod being replaced with a Vav.

 

This replacement seems to happen especially in names. Thus in Hebrew Eve is called חַוָּה Chavah, "because she was the mother of all that lives ( חָי chay)" (Gen 3:20). So in Eve's name the Yod of chay חָי is replaced by a Vav of Chavah חַוָּה We should not conclude that Vav and Yod are always interchangeable but rather when a Hebrew root has a V/Y in it, sometimes the other letter can make an appearance in its stead. So linguistically there is no problem with YHVH being derived from HYH to be. This is why YHVH presents Himself to Moses as Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I am that which I am), which is a veiled allusion to His name YHVH presented in the following verse.

 

So we see that Jehovah is an extension of To Be and To Exist.  And as Jehovah is the only being who has always existed, exists now and will always exist, and He is responsible for creating all others and giving them life, it is a very appropriate name.

 

God’s Nickname

Jah is God’s intimate ‘nickname’.  It is a contraction formed by retaining the Jod at the beginning of Jehovah, then removing the ‘ehov’ from the middle and retaining the ‘a’ and Hey at the end.  Jah is used 49 times in the Hebrew Old Covenants and 131 times in our translation from the Peshitta New Covenant.

 

 

Below is Jah in Exodus 15:2, third word from the right:

 

The section shown translates as “Jah is my strength and song”.  As in Jehovah, it begins with י (Jod), but this time there is a ָ (Kamatz) beneath the יָ (Jod). The ָ (Kamatz) is pronounced as ‘a’ and follows the letter it is beneath.  This is followed by the ה (Hey), so we have Jah, not Jeh.  The two dots above the ֔י (Jod) are a disjunctive accent called zaqep qaton, not a vowel pointing as it is when below a letter.  The zaqep qaton indicates a small pause before Jah is spoken, which enhances its impact.  The dot inside the הּ (Hey) does not change its pronunciation.

 

Jah is fully vocalised in the Leningrad manuscript each time.  Yet by the same corrupt reasons used for not translating Jehovah, Jah appears only once in the AV in Psalm 68:4.  Jah is hidden as ‘the LORD’ the other 48 times, making Jah indistinguishable from Jehovah.

 

Jah is also fully vocalised as Jah throughout the Aramaic Peshitta New Covenant.

 

Many Bibles have a remnant of Jah in Rev 19:1-6, where they have Halleluyah or Hallelujah (or truncated via the Greek into Alleluia), which is Aramaic for Praise Jah!

 

MarJah in the Aramaic Peshitta

As mentioned earlier, MarJah is the Aramaic version of Jehovah, and it is used in both their Old and New Covenant scriptures as a replacement for Jehovah.  It is likely that MarJah was their way of complying with the ban on using Jehovah, yet still honouring our God by using this contracted version of His name.  MarJah is a combination of Mara, meaning Lord or Master and Jah.  Our Bible version translates it as Lord Jah.  Below is MarJah from the Peshitta, Matthew 1:22, but displayed in square Hebrew characters to make it easier to compare.  (From The Aramaic Peshitta NT by Ewan MacLeod [www.jesusspokearamaic.com]).

 

MarJah begins with מ (Mem –pronounced as ‘m’), which has a Kamatz ( ָ ) beneath it (מָ) which is pronounced as ‘a’ and follows the letter it is beneath.  The next letter is ר (Resh – pronounced as ‘r’).  This produces ‘Mar’ and means Lord.  The last half of the word begins with י (Jod) as in Jah, and also has a  ָ  (Kamatz) beneath the יָ (Jod).  This is followed by א (Aleph -usually silent, like k in know).  This combination is pronounced as ‘Jah’.  The whole word is thus Marjah, and translates to Lord Jah as Mar is a title that is translated to its nearest equivalent in English and Jah, as one of our God’s personal names, is transliterated.

 

MarJah is used frequently in the Peshitta New Covenant to refer to Jehovah God the Father and occasionally to His Son Jeshua.

 

Lord and the Greek Scriptures

Some people claim that the Greek New Covenant (GNC) and the presence of Greek Septuagint14 quotations in it demonstrate that this is a divine endorsement of a language other than Hebrew.  This leads to their related claim that because Greek manuscripts substitute Kurios (Greek for Lord) for God’s Name, this proves that these substitutions have God’s Authority.

 

There are many Scriptural and historical reasons to reject these claims and objections to using God’s personal Name.

 

First, let us examine the use of kurios (Lord) in the Greek manuscripts, beginning with the Septuagint.  It is well known that the oldest fragments of the Septuagint we have actually preserve God’s name (the Tetragrammaton - JHVH), embedded in them in Hebrew.  Some of our group have had the pleasure of actually seeing some original pages of these ancient Septuagints including the Tetragrammaton with their own eyes.  Below is a scan of a fragment of Job Chapter 42 from a Septuagint manuscript dating to the First Century CE (AD).  The embedded Tetragrammaton is written in Paleo-Hebrew script.

 
All known Septuagint manuscripts prior to about 150 CE (AD) have God’s name written in them in this way.15  There will be more about this later.

 

It seems probable that the earliest Greek translations of the New Testament would have also embedded God’s name in this way, as they overlapped with this time period.  However, we are not aware of any of these GNC manuscripts still in existence today.  During the Diocletian Persecution (303-311 CE), there was an intense effort made to destroy Christian holy books, especially Greek New Covenants.

Constantine then had ‘new’ Greek New Covenants mass-produced16 after he made Christianity into the new Roman state religion.  It seems that they were carefully modified editions which had been sanitised to make them appear less Jewish and more palatable to the Roman citizens.  Replacing God’s name with generic titles and changing the Hebrew OC quotes to ones from the Septuagint were some of the changes made.  This removal of God’s name was consistent with the Roman Empire’s ban on using the name of Jehovah imposed soon after Rome conquered Jerusalem in 63 BCE.  It was also consistent with Constantine’s decision to convert Christianity into an all-embracing, empire-wide, unifying religion from what was a divisive faith which claimed that Jeshua the Messiah was the Only Way to Jehovah (John 14:6), who was His Father and the Only True God (1 John 5:20, Mark 13:31-32).

 

We must clearly understand why Constantine removed Jehovah, God’s name.  These quotes are from our translation of the Peshitta NC:

Jeshua answered him, “The foremost of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, Jehovah your God, Jehovah is one.  And you shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment.”

Mark 12:29-30

 

For even though there are what are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as there are many gods and many lords, yet for us ours is one God, the Father, for everything is from Him, and we are in Him; and one Lord Jah – Jeshua the Messiah – for all is through Him, and we are also in His hand.

1 Corinthians 8:5-6

Removing God’s name is removing His Identity.  Jehovah is reduced to just another of the many gods, and only a nameless one at that.  Removing someone’s name is a common military tactic used on their prisoners.  When their names are taken from them, they become just another number, less than human.  No true Christian would do this to Jehovah, our Great and Unique God.

 

Origin of Yahweh

Nehemia’s Pronunciation article also explains where the name Yahweh came from and shows that it has no Scriptural basis whatsoever.  It actually comes from attempts to write Jehovah in ancient Greek, which was essentially impossible as Nehemia observes:

First, we must observe that ancient Greek did not have an H sound in the middle of words. So the first H in YHVH, whatever the vowels attached to it, would be dropped by the Greek. Secondly, Greek did not have a W or a V sound. So the third letter of the divine name must also be dropped or distorted by the Greek. Finally the vowels of ancient Greek were much different than the Hebrew vowels system. Biblical Hebrew had 9 vowels which do not have exact correspondent vowels in Greek...

 

These difficulties explain why the original authors of the Septuagint gave up and simply copied the Hebrew for Jehovah directly into their manuscripts.  The later and also unsuccessful translation attempt by Theodoret of Cyrus about 430 CE resulted in the unscriptural Yahweh.

 

The Aramaic Peshitta Preceded the Greek Manuscripts

The reality is that Jeshua and His apostles spoke Aramaic, not Greek, as did most Jews at that time.  Aramaic is a Syrian sister language to Hebrew which became the common Jewish language during their exile in the Medo-Persian empire.  Parts of the Books of Daniel and Ezra are written in Aramaic.  The apostles wrote the original, and thus divinely inspired, New Covenant in Aramaic.  This Aramaic New Covenant has been preserved from then until today, and God’s Name has been preserved in these manuscripts, though as the more personal and intimate name of MarJah, which translates to English as Lord Jah.

 

There is considerable evidence that the Greek New Covenant is a translation from the Aramaic and is therefore not the authoritative inspired version of these scriptures.  This is reflected in the numerous differences between the various Greek manuscripts.  Such differences are very rare, and minor, in the Aramaic manuscripts, which we believe shows God’s hand on them to protect them from corruption.  The Aramaic Primacy can also been seen in the various odd passages in the Greek NC, which can usually be shown to be mistranslations from the Aramaic.17

 

For all these reasons, we do not accept that the Greek title κύριος (Kurios) is a valid substitute for Jehovah, our God’s name.  Therefore, we do not accept that Lord, the English translation of kurios, is a valid substitute for Jehovah.  But we do accept that Jehovah and His Son Jeshua18 are our Masters and our Lords.  But Master and Lord are just two of their titles.  These titles are not their names, never have been and never will be.  Titles and names are two different things.

Titles or Names?

Let us explore this idea of titles vs names a bit more:

Genesis 23:6 - Abraham is called my lord.

Genesis 32:4 - Esau is called lord.

Genesis 40:1 - the king of Egypt is called lord.

Genesis 42:33 - Joseph is called lord.

Numbers 32:25 - Moses is called lord.

Judges 4:18 - Sisera is called lord.

Ruth 2:13 - Boaz is called lord.

1 Samuel 24:8 - Saul is called lord.

1 Samuel 25:25 - David is called lord.

2 Samuel 10:3 - Hanun is called lord.

Matthew 18:26 - A rich man is called Lord by his servant.

Matthew 27:63 – The chief priests call Pilate Lord.

John 12:21 – Some gentiles call Phillip Lord.

Acts 25:26 – Festus calls his superior officer lord.19

 

This is only a small sampling of those called by the title lord (adon,  adonai, kurios or mar) in the Bible.  Some are kings, some are heros, some are villains.  But NONE of them are given God’s Name, Jehovah.

 

The name Jehovah belongs only to the One True God, and Jehovah uses His Name to distinguish Himself from all other gods and all other lords and all other masters.  Let us see what Jehovah says about this Himself:20

And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.  For I, Jehovah your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not lift up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way, for Jehovah will not leave anyone who lifts up His name in a worthless way unpunished.”

Exodus 20:1 to 7

 

So it is that in just the first few verses of the Ten Commandments, Jehovah our God tells us four times that His name is indeed Jehovah.   And He makes it clear that His name distinguishes Him from all other gods.

Should We Use God’s Name?

Some people claim, based on verse 7 above, that we should not use God’s name of Jehovah.  Though vs 7 does say we are not to use God’s name in a worthless way, we are commanded and expected to use Jehovah in a righteous way:

 

That men may know that You, whose name alone is Jehovah, are the Most High over all the earth. 

Psalm 83:18

 

Oh, give thanks to Jehovah!  Call upon His Name!  Make known His deeds among the peoples.

Praise Jah!  Praise the Name of Jehovah; Praise, O you servants of Jehovah!

You who stand in the house of Jehovah, in the courts of the House of our God, Praise Jah, for Jehovah is good; sing praises to His Name, for it is pleasant.

For Jah has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure.

For I know that Jehovah is great, and our Lord is above all gods.

Psalm 135:1 to 5

 

So, if we love Jehovah and want to pray with Him and praise and worship Him, of course we will use our God’s Name.  Though we have tried to make it clear how to pronounce His name and His Son’s name in this article, we have no doubt that Jehovah looks at our hearts and will accept even a poor pronunciation if He knows that we are doing the best we can with what we know.

 

There was one exception to this, where God commands a specific group of people to NOT use His Name, due to their corrupt practices:

 

“Thus says Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, “We will surely perform our vows that we have made, to burn to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.”  You will surely fulfill your vows and perform your vows!’

“Therefore hear the word of Jehovah, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great Name,’ says Jehovah, ‘that My Name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “Lord Jehovah lives.”

‘Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good.  And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them.

Jeremiah 44:25-27

 

Note that God then destroyed everyone who followed these corrupt practices.  This was clearly not a universal command instructing everyone - even those who were righteous - to no longer use God’s Name of Jehovah.

 

And there is one other that Jehovah allows to be called by His special Name: His Only True Son, Jeshua our Messiah.  In this case, Jehovah is their family Name.  This is revealed at Jeremiah 15:16 and in the Aramaic New Covenant at Matthew 22:45, John 17:11, Romans 14:14, 1 Corinthians 8:6 & 11:27, Revelation 22:20, etc.

 

The Name of God’s Son

We also need to look more closely at the name of God’s Son Jeshua.  As we will show, Jesus (or Iesous) arises from the Greek manuscripts. Jesus is not used as the name of God’s Son anywhere in the Hebrew or Aramaic scriptures.  But Jeshua (Jayshua - Strong’s 3442) is only used twenty nine times in the Hebrew OC.  Jeshua is a shortened and more intimate form of Jehoshua, which is used 199 times.  However, most translations change Jehoshua (Strong’s 3091) to Jeshua in their Old Testament translations.  Jehoshua (the son of Nun) first appears in the Hebrew Scriptures in Exodus 17:9, but Numbers 13:16 explains that Moses had changed his name from Hoshea (He saves) to Jehoshua (Jehovah Saves), thus joining Jehovah’s name to his.  Below, the second word from the right, is Jehoshua, from Exodus 17:10:

 

This name begins with the first three consonants of Jehovah.  And under the י (Jod, the J), there are the two vertical dots יְ.  (Shva, pronounced as a short ‘e’), followed by the ה (Hey) again as in the Jeh portion of Jehovah.  In this word, the dot above the וׄ (Vav) converts the ‘v’ into ‘o’.  The dot above the right end of the שׁ (Shin) combine with it to give the ‘sh’.  The three angled dots under the שֻ (Shin) are called Kabuts and make an “oo” as in pool.  The line under the silent עַ (Ayin), called a Patach, provides the ‘a’ to complete Jehoshua.  The diamond above the ש֗ (Shin) is an accent called a Rebia which emphasises the ‘SHU’ in this word.

Jehoshua is used through most of the Old Covenants, but as time passed, as shown in Ezra, Nehemiah and 1st and 2nd Chronicles, this name was simplified to become Jayshua (Jeshua).  Below is an example from Nehemiah 8:17, again from the digitised Leningrad Codex: