What is GOD’s name?
How do we address the God of Israel, the God of our bible?
Most people I know, refer to our heavenly Father as GOD or The LORD. Many I know, including myself, address Him as ‘Father’ and refer to him as ‘our Creator.’
I know that people of Jewish ancestry don’t pronounce the name of our LORD but tend to refer to him as Adonai and write His name as G-d. I once read an explanation for this on a Jewish website which mentioned that God’s name is too holy for us to take in our mouth. In addition, if we don’t take His name in our mouth we cannot transgress the 3rd Commandment which tells us not to take the LORD’s name in vain.
The King James translators of the bible refer to our Father as ‘God’ and ‘The Lord’ and ‘the Lord our God,’ as do most other bible translations.
Most people I know don’t call their parents by their first name either but use the generic ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ out of respect. For this reason I never took issue with the fact that hardly anyone refers to our heavenly Father by His name.
What has the bible got to say about the name of our Father?
Quite a few references are made in the bible about the name of our Father. We’ll have a look at three of them. The first one is where GOD spoke to Moses out of a fiery bush. The second occasion we’ll mention is at Mount Sinai where GOD introduced himself to his people and the third occasion is where King David refers to our Father as Jah.
In the book of Exodus Moses asked GOD, ‘What should I tell people who ask me what your name is?’ This was an occasion where the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he when he looked, Moses saw that the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. When Moses turned to look closer as to what was going on, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And God said, take your shoes off because this is holy ground.
At the burning bush
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? 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’. And God said further to Moses, thus shall you say to the Children of Israel: ‘YHWH 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.
At Mount Sinai
If we look at how the bible translators dealt with what was said at Mount Sinai where our Father introduced himself to his people we notice that there are quite a few variations. Most translators translate as follows, ‘I am the LORD your God,’ others translated, ‘I am Jehovah your GOD’ and one translated as ‘I am Yahweh your God.’
Riding upon the heavens
Further on in the bible in the book of Psalms King David refers to our Father as Jah.
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah, and rejoice before him.
GOD’s name is important
Within history and the whole salvation story GOD’s name is important. We know this because it is referred to often in the bible in various ways.
When GOD himself places importance of his name, I sit up and listen.
When we address GOD and refer to him why don’t we call him by his name?
It doesn’t help matters much that some religious groups have kinda ‘hijacked’ the name Jehovah such as for instance the Jehova’s witnesses. By mentioning his name people may think that those who mention Jehovah’s name are associated with certain groups they may not necessary feel like they want to be associated with.
There are people who call God by his name and refer to The LORD as Yahweh or Jehovah. But if we want to call our Father by his name, it would be nice to know the correct name and how to pronounce it. How can we find out what God’s name is and how to pronounce it?
I have good news for you! Biblicar scholar Nehemia Gordon has done a study on just that.
Study on the name of the Most High by biblical scholar
The consonants of the name YHVH appear some 6828 times in the Hebrew text of Scripture, yet is hardly found in any bible; why is this so?
Biblical scholar Nehemia Gordon has done a study on this very subject and his study ‘The Pronunciation of the Name’ dismantles the ‘scholarly consensus’ that the name of God is ‘Yahweh’, and proves it to be ‘Ye HO VaH’ which is pronounced with the emphasis on the last vowel.
Nehemia says that, ‘When it comes to the name it is widely believed that the vowels were systematically replaced with the vowels of the word Adonai (Lord). So modern scholars deliberately ignore the vowels of YHVH which are actually written in the Hebrew text of Scripture and attempt to reconstruct what the “original” vowels were based on all kinds of external arguments and speculations.
As a result, scholars arrive at different conclusions as to how the name was originally pronounced. One of the most popular theories is that the name was pronounced Yahweh and there is a virtual scholarly consensus concerning this name. However, this consensus is not based on decisive proof. The Anchor Bible Dictionary explains: ‘The pronunciation of yhwh as Yahweh is a scholarly guess.’
If you want to know more about Nehemia’s study on this and other subjects you can visit him by clicking on any of the links provided. Thank you Nehemia for such an excellent study.
There are many differing opinions on the subject of God’s name and one more is referred to by Yahu Ranger below in the comments, but it is my understanding that the meaning of the name Yehovah is, ‘He who was,’ ‘now is’ and ‘is to come.’
Sounds like forever to me.
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November 1, 2014 at 11:58 pm
Recommend that you peruse the following for a more complete discussion of the Sacred Name: Is the Correct Pronunciation Known?
November 8, 2014 at 10:58 am
Howdy Ranger, thank you for pointing this out to me, that is an interesting read. As I mention in the blog post, I personally don’t think it is irreverent to refer to our GOD in various different ways as long as this is with all respect due. I am addressed differently by different people and have no problem with this at all. Most people I know have a number of names that they are known by. I like the name Yahweh as much as I like the name Yehovah as much as I like the other names that our Creator of the Universe is referred to in the bible. I don’t think that the pearly gates will be locked to those who genuinely and respectfully refer to our Father’s name in a way that may not be 100% accurate.
The article you refer to seems very well researched and I thank you for pointing it out to me so that it can be added in to the debate.
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