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The Personal Name of the Father
The very last chapter of the last book of the Old Testament contains a beautiful prophecy:
But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall, and ye shall tread down the wicked. (Malachi 4:2, 3a, KJV)
This prophecy is a promise that all who love, reverence and fear the name of the Almighty will grow up (in their spiritual understanding) and tread down all the lies of the wicked. The prophecy further promises: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet . . . And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." (Malachi 4:5, 6)
The Israelites applied this prophecy to the coming of the promised Deliverer. They believed that Elijah himself would return from heaven to let everyone know Messiah had come. Centuries later, when Peter, James and John saw Elijah standing with the Saviour when He was transfigured shortly before His death, they were confused. They asked Him: "Why then say the scribes that Elias [Elijah] must first come?"
The Messiah knew that they were referring to this prophecy of Malachi and He gave a two-fold answer in reply:
"Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed [wished]. . . . Then the disciples understood that He spake unto them of John the Baptist." (See Matthew 17:1-13.)
This is an intriguing reply. It has two parts:
- "Elias is come already and they knew him not but have done unto him whatever they wanted." The disciples clearly understood this to refer to John the Baptist who had proclaimed the Messiah's arrival.
- "Elias truly shall first come." This is even more intriguing because it is spoken in the future tense. There was an Elijah that was yet to come who had not come yet! What was the purpose of this future Elijah? To "restore all things!"
All have inherited errors and traditions passed down from paganism. Often these traditions were handed down out of ignorance of the truth. On other matters, such as the Holy name of the Creator, scribes and translators have actively changed what was originally written. Now, in the closing days of earth's history, knowledge is being increased as promised in Daniel 12:4. In the approaching "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation" (Daniel 12:1) those who are faithful to their Creator will need to exercise faith in His power to keep them and provide for their needs when every earthly support is cut off.
It is for "such a time as this" that the divine name is being restored.
"For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the . . . [the Creator], to serve Him with one consent." Zephaniah 3:9
The personal name of the Heavenly Father is not "God" or "Lord." These are merely titles and cannot inspire faith in Him as the Creator because they are words that are also applied to pagan gods, magistrates, titled members of the nobility or, a long time ago, even a husband!
There are a number of suggested names among those who want to use the Father's personal name. One of the most common variations is Yahweh. Another variant is Jehovah, which arose before it was understood that ancient Hebrew did not contain a "J" sound. However a careful study of the Bible, comparing Scripture with Scripture, reveals that neither of these names is correct.
The true, personal name of the Omnipotent Creator is: Yahuwah. Written without vowels, as it was in ancient Hebrew, it is spelled: YHWH. While this may sound odd to modern ears, it is a name rich in meaning and beauty. In the modern English alphabet, each letter represents a particular sound or sometimes two. However, each letter in ancient Hebrew represented much more: pictograph (picture), syllable (name), mnemonic (meaning) and phonetic (sound).
Semitic pictograph of an arm and hand.
|The early Semitic pictograph of the first letter is an arm and hand. The meaning of this letter is work, make and throw - all functions of the hand. The Modern Hebrew name “yud” is a derivative of the two letter word “yad meaning "hand," the original name for the letter.|
|The original pictograph for the next letter is a man standing with his arms raised. The original and Modern Hebrew for this letter is “hey.” The Hebrew word “hey” means “behold.” This word can also mean “breath” or “sigh” as one does when looking at a great sight. The meaning of the letter is behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out.|
|The original pictograph used in the Early Semitic script for WAW is a , a picture of a tent peg. The tent pegs were made of wood and may have been Y-shaped to prevent the rope from slipping off.|
|The holy name ends in another "hey." In symbology, then, the name of the eternal Father in the ancient Hebrew reveals His plan of salvation through His only begotten Son: Hand, behold, nail, behold. How wonderful our Father is!|
In Modern Hebrew, the name looks like this:1
There are two ways words move between languages:
A word is translated when its meaning, its definition is expressed in the new language. Sometimes, the words can be completely different. For example, in English, the tall buildings that rise many stories high are called "skyscrapers." In French, the term is "sky-scratchers." Such substitution is perfectly acceptable in translation where the main thrust is to communicate the original meaning.
Transliteration is what is commonly done with names. When a word is transliterated, the attempt is to find letters in the new language that come the closest to making the correct sound. An example of this is found in the English name, John. The Russian equivalent of John is "Ivan" . . . however that is not how "Ivan" is spelled in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet. The letters between the Cyrillic alphabet and the English alphabet are completely different. Therefore, although "Ivan" is translated into English as "John," it is transliterated from the Russian letters into "Ivan."
When it comes to understanding the personal name of the Creator, it is important to know both the meaning of His name (for that is what inspires faith) and how to pronounce it.
There are several variations in spelling: Yahuah, IOUA, IOUO, IAUE, etc. However, using standard English rules of spelling and pronunciation, Yahuwah is the clearest spelling that provides the closest approximation of the original sounds.
Josephus the Jewish historian wrote that the set-apart name consisted of "four vowels" (Jewish Wars, 5. 5. 7.). Why did Josephus write this? Please consider the following thoughts.
Remember, Josephus was writing to a Greek audience! He first wrote his history [at least his notes] in Hebrew Aramaic (Antiquities 12.5. 1-4 footnotes; Against Apion 1. 9). After the Jewish/Roman war, he had time, and with long perseverance, he mastered the Greek language, and compiled his history in Koine Greek, which was the international language of the world at that time. Though it was the international language, do not think it was the every day language in Israel, for it was not!
Josephus frequently altered Hebrew names, spelling them after the fashion of the Greeks, "to please [his Greek] readers" (Antiquities 1. 5. 1.). Josephus describes the head-gear worn by the Levitical priest:
"Of this was a crown made, as far from the hinder part of the head to each of the temples; but this ... did not cover the forehead, but it was covered by a golden plate, which had inscribed upon it the Name of (Elohim) in SET-APART CHARACTERS." (Antiquities 3. 7. 6. set-apart title and emphasis added).
The term HOLY CHARACTERS, means not just Hebrew letters, but the ancient Hebrew, known as Paleo-Hebrew, used in the time of Moses, and David.
Anciently, even the Greek language, like the Hebrew, was written from right to left. Also, the ancient Greek letters were similar to Paleo-Hebrew. Therefore, the ancient Greek would have written the set-apart name very similar to the ancient Hebrew, which appeared like this: .The Modern Greek equivalent would be written IHYH, and understood as IEUE. But do not think that this, in any wise, proves the pronunciation of the set-apart name. Josephus was writing to the Greeks, the equivalent of YHWH. It was from this [Greek form] that the heathen formed their Jeue, Jove, and Jeve (see Adam Clarke's Commentary on Exodus 3:14)
It is true that the letters can function as vowel letters. Let us consider a few examples: the yod acts as a vowel in the words "Eli" (Mt 27:46) also #430 Elohim, #4899 Mashiach, ish (Gen 2:23 margin KJV) etc. Yet it also functions as a consonant in other words like #3050 Yah, #2968 ya ab, etc. Sometimes it acts as a vowel and a consonant all in the same letter, as in Eliyah, where it is a double yod.
"The is stronger and firmer than , and never loses it's consonantal sound in a middle of a word . . . . On the other hand, at the end of a word it is always a mere vowel letter, unless expressly marked by Mappiq as a strong consonant." (As in Yahh, and Eloahh) Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, p. 81
The waw also can act as a vowel in words like #452 Eliyahu, #3194 Yutah etc.. It also carries the "o" sound, as in #3117 yom. On the other hand, it acts like a consonant in words like #2331 chavah, actually the consonant is not a V, but as in Arabic, or as the English sound of "w".
Sometimes the acts like a vowel and a consonant all in the same letter; they can also be consonants, depending on the usage. Concerning the Set-Apart Name, the structure of the letters tell us that the yod is a consonant, as in the word YAH (Ps. 68:4 & Isa. 12:2; 26:4; 38:11 NKJV). Also the is a consonant, since "it never loses its consonantal sound in the middle of a word." Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, p. 81
Also, the waw always acts as a consonant when ending words (except in Eloahh). When Hebrew-words end with "uah" sound, it is expressed in Hebrew as or ; therefore, if the Hebrew word ends , it will always act as a consonant, ending like "wah" or "weh" etc.
The final in is the vowel letter in the set-apart name, "at the end of a word it is always a mere vowel letter." Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar p. 81
Conclusion: When Josephus said "four vowels", he was talking to his Greek audience trying to express the Tetragrammaton in a way that they would comprehend, trans-letter-ating from Paleo-Hebrew , which in Paleo Greek was , then into modern Greek, thus arriving with IHYH (literally IEUE.) 2
The Israelites never "forgot" the divine name. It was an integral part of many of their own names! It is from these other names that we get confirmation that the correct pronunciation of the divine name is not Jehovah, or Yahweh but Yahuwah: ya WHO uh, or sometimes YAH whuh.
Even in New Testament times, parents gave their children names containing part of Yahuwah's name:
|#2197||Zacharias||(ZacharYAHU - Yahuwah has remembered)|
|#2993||Matthew||(MattithYAHU - gift of YAHUWAH)|
|#2491||John||(Yahchanan - YAHUWAH favored)|
Even Simon Peter's name, sometimes translated Cephas, was actually KephAH, meaning "my rock is Yahuwah."
In the ancient world, far more than today, people understood the power of the divine name. It is possible that this understanding was at least partially responsible for the Israelite attempts to change or hide the name. "In Egypt, for example, the concept of the 'concealed Name' was extremely common."3
Some scholars state that belief in the power within a god's name extended so far as to lead the followers to hide the name. This was done because the people feared that if a personal (or national) enemy learned the name of their god, the enemy could entice that god away to aid himself! It is possible that such a fear led the Israelites to try to hide the name of the Creator from their enemies. What is far more likely, however, is that during the wars with Babylon and the subsequent Babylonian captivity, the name was deliberately hidden by unconsecrated priests in an attempt to guard it from blasphemy by the pagans. (One must remember that the entire reason the Israelites were taken into Babylonian captivity was because they were not truly committed to the worship of Yahuwah.)
Jeremiah (whose name, YiremYAHU meant "exalted of Yahuwah") was the lone faithful prophet during the final dark days of Israel's fall to the Babylonians. An insight into how the Israelites justified "hiding" the name of the Almighty is recorded in a passage where Yahuwah Himself speaks:
I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten My name for Baal. (Jeremiah 23:25-27, KJV)
Whatever the reason, it is unfortunate that the very name on which all are to call has been so long unknown. Satan knows that the name of the Almighty contains the power that brought the universe into existence. He also knows that all who call upon that name in faith, will receive an answer of peace. It has greatly pleased the Devil to have the name buried and all but forgotten.
There is no excuse for hiding the name of the only One that is a very present help in trouble. Salvation is of Yahuwah alone and in order to heed the instruction of scripture and call upon His name, all must know the name.
In this time of prevailing iniquity, a loving Creator is revealing His long-forgotten name: Yahuwah.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahuwah shall be delivered. Joel 2:32
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of Yahuwah our Mighty One." Psalm 20:7
Call upon the name of Yahuwah. He will hear and answer the prayer of faith.
1 All pictographs courtesy of Jeff A. Benner, Ancient Hebrew Research Center, www.ancient-hebrew.org
2 B. Earl Allen, Publish the Name of Yahuwah, pp. 20-22.
3 The Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsy, as cited in Publish the Name of Yahuwah, by B. Earl Allen, p. 7.