Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) in Vienna, Austria

Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) in Vienna, Austria

This will be the last episode in the Name Of God Series. This has been a long journey but I hope you have not only enjoyed it but have grown spiritually as I have. I will cover some new material before concluding but lets first spend some time reviewing what we have covered thus far.

Episode 1

In Episode One I began by questioning what is the Name of God? Probably seemed like a ridiculous question at the time but know you know better. God’s name does not appear on any of the pages in your English Bible. I questioned why has the Name been hidden all these years? Does it even matter whether we know his Name?

Judaeo Christianity tells us there is only one God, and he is known by only one name.

Psalm 83:18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth.

Jeremiah 33:2 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name,

Our English translations claim that name is LORD, but as we discovered this is not his true Name, it is simply a substitute. This Name occurs 6,828 times in the scriptures. These are just a few of those occurrences:

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name.

Psalm 113:1 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD.
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forever.
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised.

Psalm 148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.

Genesis 13:4 to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Psalm 116:13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the LORD.

Joel 2:32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

How are we to praise or call on the Name of our God if we don’t know what it is?

Despite all the mystery there is no debating how to write the name of God, at least the consonants. The Name was, of course, reveled in Hebrew, the ancient language in which the Torah was written by Moshe (Moses). We know exactly how to write the Name in Hebrew:

יהוה

There were no vowels written in the original Hebrew Bible. In modern Hebrew the same holds true, vowels are not written or indicated except in early grammar books.

When vowels are written In Hebrew, they are not written as letters but in sort of a shorthand of dots and lines called “points” or in Hebrew nikud. These nikud, or vowel points, identify the vowel to be pronounced.

Episode 2

In Episode Two I mentioned that only God’s Name has been substituted, all other names are fully know such as Noah, or Noach, Abraham, Avraham, Isaac, Yitzchak, Jacob, Ya’akov, Moses, Moshe, and so on, but when it comes to the name of God we have LORD.

We do know the consonants of the Name, they are in our Hebrew manuscripts, but we don’t have the correct vowels. Technically we can write the name in Hebrew, the consonants, but that alone does not tell us how to pronounce it.

When Moses penned the words of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, he did so writing consonants only. The Hebrew manuscripts our Bible is based upon does have vowels, actually vowel points. These vowel points allow us to pronounce the words. These vowels were introduced by the Masoretes. The Masoretes are the ones  who developed the nikudim, or vowel points that are used today and are found in many important Hebrew manuscripts. The Masoretes were most active during the sixth through tenth centuries A.D.

After the destruction of the temple and subsequent dispersion of the Jews, the Holy language fell into disuse. The dispersed Jews relied on their local languages and dialects to conduct business. There was a concern that over time, without written vowels, the correct pronunciations would be forgotten and lost forever. The Masoretes wanted to preserve the Holy Scriptures as spoken since the days of Moses. Codification of the pronunciation was an enormous undertaking, but fortunately because of their work the ancient scriptures can be pronounced and read today. The Masoretic scribes were meticulous when copying the Holy Scriptures. The task of copying a scroll was enormous and time consuming. The meticulous process of hand-copying a scroll takes about 2,000 hours (a full-time job for one year).

To illustrate just how accurate the scribes were – they counted and knew, for example, that there were exactly 78,064 letters within Genesis, or Bereishit.

The Masoretic scribes added the vowel pointings and cantillation marks to the consonantal text to indicate how particular words were pronounced. They deliberately developed the vowel points, nikudim, so that they could be inserted without disturbing the original consonantal forms. They did this by adding the markings below and above the consonants. This is the degree of respect they had for the Word of God.

For centuries Jews have not spoken the Name of God not only because it is holy but they built a “fence” around the prohibition of not taking God’s Name in vain.

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

The forbiddance of speaking the Name is a man-made ordinance, not directed by God, in fact God desires us to speak the Name.

Ruth 2:4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, “May the LORD be with you.” And they said to him, “May the LORD bless you.”

Psalm 113:3 From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised.

The scriptures agree that not only has the Name been spoken in the past but it will be so in the future as well.

Zephaniah 3:9 “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

Unfortunately it was Rabbinical Judaism that forbade the speaking of the Name. This is the Judaism Yeshua so often rebuked as being the traditions of man and not the commandments of God.

Rabbinical Judaism teaches that the name is forbidden to all except the High Priest, who should only speak it in the Holy of Holies of the Temple in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur. The High Priest would pronounce the name “just as it is written”. As each blessing was made, the people in the courtyard were to prostrate themselves completely as they heard it spoken aloud. When the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 the Name ceased to be spoken. Most modern Jews never pronounce YHWH but instead read Adonai (“My Lord”) during prayer and while reading the Torah and as HaShem (“The Name”) at other times.

When the Masoretes codified the Hebrew Old Testament with nikudim, they purposely removed and/or changed the vowels for the Name of God so that it could be recognized but not pronounced. It was known by all Jews that the Holy Name was not permitted to be spoken and by removing the vowels even an accidental mentioning of the Name could not occur. Fast forward hundreds of years. Without the vowels written in the text there is great disagreement over what they should be.

Episode 3

In Episode Three I introduced the most important Hebrew manuscripts; the Leningrad Codex, the Aleppo Codex, and the Crown of Damascus. All three of these are of the Masoretic tradition. In addition we have the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a thousand years earlier than the Leningrad. The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. It was written in Cairo around the year 1010. The Leningrad and Aleppo Codex are of the famous Ben Asher family of scribes who lived in Tiberias. The two manuscripts are regarded as the primary codices of the Masoretic tradition. The Leningrad Codex, although complete, is not considered the best quality Hebrew manuscript. The Aleppo Codex ranks first among the Hebrew manuscripts and derives its name from the city in Syria where it had been located. The incomplete Aleppo Codex was written about 930 A.D. The Crown of Damascus is a 10th century Hebrew Bible codex of the Pentateuch containing the first Five Books of Moses. The codex was copied by an unknown scribe, replete with Masoretic annotations. The manuscript is lacking in its beginning, as it starts with Genesis 9:26, Exodus 18:1–23 is also missing. In all about 800 scrolls, including thousands of fragments have been uncovered as part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Altogether there are about 200 texts of the Old Testament, but many of these are no more than fragments. One of the prominent Old Testament finds included The Great Isaiah Scroll. It is a complete copy except for a few small breaks in the text. For all practical purposes the text reads the same as the Masoretic. The majority of variances are spelling, grammar, and modifications of vocabulary. Prior to the Dead Sea scrolls the oldest Hebrew Old Testament manuscript was from ~900 A.D. The Dead Sea scrolls provided Hebrew manuscripts 1000 years older than previously existed.

I compared The Leningrad, Aleppo, and Great Isaiah Scroll to our English Old Testament using Isaiah 12:4. The Leningrad and Aleppo were pointed the same, and of course the Great Isaiah Scroll had no vowel points at all, originally being written before the Masoretes.

Episode 4

In Episode Four we examined other names of other Biblical characters because many individuals in the Old Testament were named after God, often times a characteristic of God. These are called theophoric names. Theophoric is a Greek term meaning “bearing god” and is a term used to describe a name that has embedded within it the name of a god, or in our case the Name of the God.

We examined two types of names, those with God’s name at the beginning and those with His name at the end. Here are just a few that we covered:

Theophoric Beginning Names

Joshua

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹשֻעַ

The correct pronunciation is Yehoshua. This is a compound word, YHVH and yasha, which means saves. The meaning then is YHVH saves. The pronunciation is indisputable, Yehoshua,  with Yeho being a shortened version of God’s name. You may have already guessed but Yeshua is simply a shortened version of Yehoshua.

Jehoshaphat

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹשָפָט

The correct pronunciation is Yehoshaphat. Another compound word, YHVH and shaphat, meaning YHVH judges.

Jonathan

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹנָתָן

The correct pronunciation is Yehonatan. Another compound word, YHVH and natan, meaning YHVH gives.

Theophoric Ending Names

Now lets turn to Biblical Hebrew names that end with God’s name. In this case including the last consonant of YHVH.

Zechariah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

זְכַרְיָה

The correct pronunciation is Zecharyah. Another compound word, zachar and ya, with ya being a shortened version of YHVH. The name means ya remembers or YHVH remembers.

Jeremiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יִרְמְיָהוּ

The correct pronunciation is Yirmeyahu. Another compound word, rum and ya. The name means YHVH has appointed.

Nehemiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

נְחֶמְיָה

The correct pronunciation is Nechemya. Another compound word, nacham and ya. The name means YHVH comforts.

These are just of few of theophoric in the Hebrew Bible. The forms we reviewed with God’s name at the beginning included the first three consonants, יהו, and those with God’s name at the end, the last consonant, ה. If we were to “plug” these vowels into His Name we would get:

יְהֹוָה

This would be pronounced as Yehovah, but this is not enough to make such a conclusion. We will need to gather more evidence to draw such a conclusion.

Episode 5

In Episode Five we looked at historical examples of YHVH pointed as Yehovah or in Hebrew:

יְהֹוָה     Yehovah

Leningrad Codex

The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. There are 52 occurrences of יְהֺוָה (with these vowels) in the Leningrad Codex. Remember there are 6,828 occurrences of יהוה in the Leningrad Codex, yet 52 of these include the missing cholem vowel. Why is this? It’s anyone’s guess, perhaps out of the 6,828 occurrences 52 slipped by the Masoretes without removing one of the vowels. The first occurrence of YHVH with all vowels is Genesis 3:14.

Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly shall you go, And dust shall you eat All the days of your life; (NAS)

Here is an image of the Leningrad Codex of the same verse. I have circled the vowels in the Tetragrammaton. remember that Hebrew reads from right to left.

YHVH Leningrad Codex Genesis 3:14

YHVH Leningrad Codex Genesis 3:14

Aleppo Codex

The Leningrad Codex, although complete, is not considered the best quality Hebrew manuscript. The Aleppo Codex ranks first among the Hebrew manuscripts and derives its name from the city in Syria where it had been located.

Regarding the Aleppo Codex I know of at least one occurrence of יְהֺוָה, Ezekiel 28:22. And I have it on good authority that there are a few more.

Ezekiel 28:22 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, And I shall be glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I execute judgments in her, And I shall manifest My holiness in her. (NAS)

As you can see below YHVH has the same vowel pointing as in the 52 occurrences in the Leningrad Codex.

YHVH Aleppo Codex Ezekiel 28:22

YHVH Aleppo Codex Ezekiel 28:22

1611 King James

The King James Version (KJV), also known as Authorized Version (AV) or simply King James Bible (KJB), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.

The following is an image of the cover page of the 1611 King James Version. A the top of the page I have circled the Tetrgrammaton. Notice the cholem, above the first “heh” from the right. God’s name on this cover has the exact same vowel pointing as the few occurrences observed in the Leningrad and Aleppo Codices.

1611 King James Cover

1611 King James Cover

Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) in Vienna, Austria

Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) is a baroque church located on the south side of Karlsplatz in Vienna, Austria. Widely considered the most outstanding baroque church in Vienna, as well as one of the city’s greatest buildings, Karlskirche is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, one of the great counter-reformers of the sixteenth century. Construction began in 1716 under the supervision of Anton Erhard Martinelli.

Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) in Vienna, Austria

Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) in Vienna, Austria

1617 Reformation Anniversary Medal

1617 Reformation Anniversary Medal

Karl IX 1/2 Ore, Sweden, Struck 1599

Karl IX 1/2 Ore, Sweden, Struck 1599

These examples provided more evidence that many understanding that God’s name is pronounced Yehovah. This of itself is not proof but does build upon other evidence that has been provided. The instances contained the Leningrad and Aleppo Codices offer the most compelling evidence.

In this final episode I want to introduce two more pieces of information. First is a manuscript I only recently learned about. At the British Museum in London resides a 17th century Hebrew translation of the book of Revelation. Yes, the New Testament book of Revelation. This has been one of the neatest things I have learned of. I have an image of chapter one verse 8. Here is that same verse in the New American Standard version:

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (NASB)

Now that same verse in the manuscript:

Revelation to John, Hebrew Translation, 17th century, British Library, London

You will notice in the left margin Hebrew letters that represent verse numbers. Hebrew letters have a numerical equivalent. Aleph (א) is one, Bet (ב), is two, and so on. The letter Chet (ח) is equal to eight. To the far right on this line is the beginning of verse eight. It reads “I am the Aleph and the Tav says Yehovah the God”.

As you can see I have circled the Name of God:

יְהֹוָה

The Name has the missing cholem, the single dot above and to the left of the first heh. The Name is pointed exactly as we saw in the Leningrad and Aleppo manuscripts, simply amazing! Here we have a 17th century scribe either translating or copying an even older Hebrew version of Revelation and they agree that the Name of God is Yehovah. To me this is incredible evidence to support the pronunciation of Yehovah.

Another intersting observation is in the Hebrew we read “I am the Alpeh and the Tav”. Teh Greek is “I am the Alpha and Omega”. These are the first and last letters of the Hebrew and Greek alphabets (aleph+bet). Yehovah is the beginning and end! This idea ties into my next point.

He Will Be, He Is, and He Was

The name of God was made known to Moshe:

Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM“; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (NASB)

The Hebrew for the phrase “I Am Who I Am” is:

‎ אֶהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה  ehye asher ehye

Or literally “I am that which I am”, or “I will be that which I will be”.

The Hebrew verb is הָיָה, haya, or “to be”, it is in the qal imperfect 1st person masculine singular form.

If we look at three other forms of this verb in the 3rd person we have:

הָיָה hayah, qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular

Genesis 6:9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. (NASB)

‎הֹוֶה hoveh, qal active participle masculine singular (this may be used for the present tense to “to be”)

Ecclesiastes 2:22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? (NASB)

This is literally “what is for a man”

יִהְיֶה yiyeh, qal imperfect 3rd person masculine singular

Genesis 16:12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.” (NASB)

If we combine these forms we get the prefix ye from the imperfect (future), the prefix hov from the participle (present), and the suffix ah, from the perfect (past) we get Yehovah, the one who will be, is, and was! I doubt that this is a coincidence.

Isaiah 41:4 “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'” (NASB)

Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (NASB)

Not only does God tell us he is the first and the last but his name is a compound of three verbs meaning he will be, he who is, and he who was, I am That What I Am!

One other thing. There is a possibility that in ancient Hebrew the vav was pronounced as a “w” instead of a “v”. I think the evidence is weak but that would make the Name is Yehowah instead of Yehovah.

I hope you have enjoyed this study as much as I have. I am very confident that the Name is Yehovah. Use this name in your personal time with God. Call on his Name just as he asks us to. I am confident God will honor you in your quest to call on Him by His true Name.

Numbers 6:24 The LORD bless you, and keep you;
25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
26 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’
27 “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

Not many days from now the Kohanim, the Levitical priests, will once again be speaking the Name of God, Yehovah, in the Temple in Jerusalem. Until then God Bless.