The Name of God

Have we gone astray from blessing people and using God’s name appropriately and correctly?

The Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) lists the Ten Commandments (Torah–instructions of God) in the book of Deuteronomy (D’varim) chapter 5. The third commandment states, “You shall not take the Name of HASHEM, your God, in vain, for HASHEM will not absolve anyone who takes His Name in vain.” ( Deut. 5:11) (The Artscroll Series, Stone Edition, the Tanach: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn New York: 1996, p. 441.)

The Complete Jewish Bible translated by David H. Stern, a scholar, former professor, and Messianic Jew, translates the third commandment of God as follows, “You are not to misuse the name of ADONAI your God, because ADONAI will not leave unpunished someone who misuses his name.” (The CBJ: Jewish New Testament Publications, (Clarksville, Maryland and Jerusalem, Israel: 1998), p. 203.)

There is not much difference between the two; however, the subtle shift of ADONAI and HASHEM in the texts above reflect rabbinical tradition and not biblical mandate. In order for the “name” of God not to be taken in vain, the majority of translations use: LORD, ADONAI, GOD, and HASHEM. There is still much debate among the Judaisms of today regarding whether or not the spellings of these names, into other languages outside of Hebrew, need the hyphen to stay in harmony with what the “Bible” teaches (e.g., L-RD, AD-NAI, and G-D). Believe it or not, I have even seen HASHEM now taking a hyphen, i.e., HASH-M. The passage in the original Hebrew reads, “You shall not take YHVH’s name in vain. . .” Over time, the Jewish sages interpreted this as to not even mentioning the name of, “YHVH.” Thus, ADONAI was used to replace YHVH. Then, the word ADONAI became so holy that the word, “HASHEM” has been used. HASHEM means, “THE NAME” in Hebrew.

Now, let’s see if I can get this right. The Scripture mandates that we shall not “misuse” the name of YHVH in vain, yet the sages and rabbis have added to this by interpreting that we should not MISUSE the names, “G-d, HaSh-m, and L-rd” in vain as well. I can understand their concern; however, they have missed the whole point! Today, many will translate this Mitzvah (Law-Instruction) as: Cursing! We have all heard someone say, “Jesus H. Christ!” haven’t we? And the most tight-wound of snobbish believers will respond with a resounding, “Well, I have never. . .” And, unfortunately, most orthodox Jews won’t even see the word “YHVH” when they are reading the passage because HASHEM has been so integrated into their minds. You see, they have been told since they were little children, to never mention that name (Yahweh) because they would be found guilty of breaking the Mitzvah (Law).

When Yahweh (See my previous blog on why His name is pronounced YAHWEH.) is instructing Moshe (Moses) regarding the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:22-27, He specifically tells Moshe to tell A’aron and his sons that when they bless the people of Israel they are to say, “May YHVH bless you and keep you. May YHVH make His face shine on you and show to you His favor. May YHVH lift up His face toward you and give to you peace. In this way they are to, PUT . . . MY . . . NAME . . . on the people of Israel, so that I will bless them.” Even Stern, a Believing Jew in Yeshua as the Messiah, has replaced YHVH with ADONAI in his translation, when Yahweh directly commands us to put (proclaim, mention, place) his name–YHVH on the people of Israel so that He will bless them.

The word YHVH has been received as being pronounced as a roll-off-the-tongue type of sound. The vowels on the Hebrew word for ADONAI are the “ah” and “eh.” The Hebrew word for God is YAH; therefore by using the “ah,” and the “eh” sound we have the word Yahweh. This is the most widely accepted pronunciation of YHVH. Each of these consonants are to be spoken as vowels rather than consonants, i.e., in English we would say, “Yehovah,” or “Jehovah.” Therefore, I prefer using Yahweh until I further understand it from a Messianic Jewish perspective on why some Messianic Jewish scholars prefer to use Yehovah instead of Yahweh. Furthermore, if Yahweh instructs us to use His name, so that we are to mention and put or place His NAME on HIS people, why have we said otherwise? TRADITION! That’s right, again we fall into the hands of tradition. So much so, that even Christian scholars, along with Jewish scholars, have omitted the word Yahweh, altogether.

In English translations we find, “GOD” or “LORD.” In English rabbinical translations we read, “HASHEM” or “ADONAI.” However, in the original Hebrew we read the word, “YHVH.” Why is this so important? Well, who or what is your God? Who or what is your Lord? Think about it, those terms can be very generic. If you don’t think so, just ask people who they think their God is, or who is their Lord. Whether they be, Mormons, Buddhists, Hindu’s, Christians or Muslims including secular people who are not religious but believe in “God.” God and Lord can mean several different things to several different people. Even the Jehovah Witnesses got His name somewhat right; however, they have practically screwed-up and demolished everything else under the umbrella of theology.

So, when Eli-YAH-u (Elijah) called down fire on his very wet sacrifice, whose name do you think He said? That’s right! “. . . Yahweh, the God of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Israel, today it will become known that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that it is by Your word that I have done all these things. Answer me, YAHWEH, answer me! And let this people KNOW that YOU, YAHWEH, are THE God; thus You will turn their hearts back.” (1 Kings 18:36b-37, caps mine as well as using YAHWEH as properly read in the Hebrew: The Stone Edition)

EliYAHu used YHVH and said, “. . . Let this people KNOW that YOU, YAHWEH, are THE God! . . .” No other name can or has been given to any other god. His name is YHVH! Pronounce it! Proclaim it! Use His name properly, and correctly!

Not using His name, and swearing by another name, is actually using His name in vain. LORD and HASHEM and ADONAI sound so nice, but it is by YAHWEH that we are mention HIS name to all the people. Therefore, when you lay hands on your children, bless them in His name–Yahweh. When you anoint a leader or pastor or rabbi or servant, bless him in the Name of Yahweh. When you pray for healing speak forth the name YAHWEH. Yeshua, the shortened name for Y’oshua, or Joshua meaning Savior is just the start of Yahweh’s manifestation to the human race as the Mashiach; however, it is interesting to note, that to my knowledge the only time Yeshua is referred to by this name in the book of Revelation is at the beginning, once in chapter 16, and at the end of Revelation; however, the only one that refers to Him as such is John (Yochanan), with the exception of chapter 22:16 when Yeshua actually confirms to Yochanan who He is (there may be more, so don’t get too excited if I missed some). Throughout the book of Revelation He is revealed as several titles: The Alef and Tav (Alpha and Omega), Son of Man, the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, Yahweh of Hosts, the Lamb, The Word of God, and King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the First and Last, and the Beginning and the End. I mention this because in chapter 3:12 it states, “I will make him who wins the victory a pillar in the Temple of My God, and He will never leave it. Also, I will write on him the Name of My God and the Name of My God’s city, the new Yerushalayim coming down out of heaven from My God, AND MY OWN NEW NAME.”

Did you catch that? Yahweh will be written on all believers, according to Yeshua. Is it possible that Yeshua’s New Name is YAHWEH, including THE WORD OF GOD, and KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS? (Revelation 19:13-16)

Adrian A. Bernal
“Changing the way people think, one blog at a time.”

© 2007, All Rights Reserved

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