Are Names Important?

What Is The Tetragrammaton

Pro 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if thou canst tell? - RNKJV

Every religion has a deity or deities with specific names. The names of deities in the most popular world religions are well known by most everyone. Even the devil has names known by all. So why is it that if you ask most Christians today what the name of their Creator is they might reply with Lord or God? Is Lord or God the name of the Creator? The answer is no. Lord and God are merely titles used for the Creator. In Hebrew the name of the Creator is spelled Yod Hey Vav Hey (יהוה)- in English this would be YHWH or YHVH. While it is commonly transliterated as Yahweh and Jehovah, there is no /j/ sound in Hebrew; therefore, a more correct pronunciation of the name would be Yahweh with the /y/ sound.

It seems strange that most Christians do not know the Creator’s name. Why is this the case? Over 6000 times the tetregrammeton YHWH is in the Old Testament and it has been replaced with “LORD”.

Let’s look at what some have said regarding the removal of the name YHWH.

“The substitution of the word “Lord” is most unhappy; for . . . it in NO WAY represents the meaning of the sacred name . . .” – The 1872 edition of Smith’s Bible Dictionary 

“. . . the most common “ERROR” made by most translators in the last 3500 years…is their  elimination of heaven’s revealed Name of the Most High, Yahweh . . .” – A. B. Traina; in the Preface of the Holy Name Bible

“. . . the suppression of The Name . . . has entailed upon the reader, and especially upon the hearer, irreparable loss . . . its suppression was a MISTAKE . . .” –Rotherham, 1, Ch. IV, 22-29

Now let’s take a look at some historical references that explain why the name YHWH was removed and replaced with “LORD.”

“In the first two centuries nearly all the various readings of the New Testament came into existence, the majority of them by deliberate alteration of the text . . . in the interests of (the trinity) dogma . . .” -the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics; The Bible in the Church

“Codex B (Vaticanus) . . . was altered by a later hand in more than two thousand places. Eusebius, therefore, is not without grounds for accusing the adherents of . . . the newly-risen doctrine of the trinity of falsifying the Bible . . .” - (Fraternal Visitor 1924, p. 148; translated from Christadelphian Monatshefte).

“The removal of the Tetregrammeton (YHWH) from the New Testament and its replacement with the surrogates KYRIOS and THEOS blurred the original distinction between the Lord God and the Lord Christ, and in many passages made it impossible which one was meant. As time went on . . . it was often impossible to distinguish between them. Thus it may be that the removal of the Tetregrammeton contributed significantly to the later . . . Trinity.” – George Howard, Bible Scholar; The Name of God in the New Testament, BAR 4.1 (March 1978), pg 15

“It was they who demanded, in effect, that Christianity be “updated” by blurring or even obliterating the long-accepted distinction between the Father and the Son.” – When Jesus Became God by Richard E. Rubenstein, p.74 

“The Creators name YHWH appears in the original Hebrew text over 6000 times but the NIV fails to mention it even once. When asked about this, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., Executive Secretary for the NIV’s committee wrote:” “Here is why we did not: You are right – that . . . is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 2 1/4 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, ‘Yahweh is my shepherd.’ Immediately, we would have translated for nothing. Nobody would have used it (or purchased it). Oh, maybe you and a handful [of] others. But a Christian has to be also wise and practical. We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition. It is far better to get two million to read it - that is how many have bought it to date - and to follow the King James, than to have two thousand buy it and have the correct translation of Yahweh . . . It was a hard decision, and many of our translators agree with you.” – The Reason NIV removed Jehovah’s Name Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., Executive Secretary for the NIV‘s committee 

“The situation today, where many translations . . . exists largely because of the amount of money to be gained . . .” -(The Preservation of the Bible By Faithful Churches) –By Charles V. Turner

Another reason for the removal of the name YHWH is merely the tradition of man. The Jews have avoided saying the name Yahweh since before the time of Yahshua (Jesus). They no longer use it in their prayers and even made it a sin to say His name out loud. They also consider it blasphemy to utter the name of the Creator. So many translators have followed this tradition and replaced YHWH with “LORD” and “GOD” – in all capitals – to show that they have removed YHWH in those places. 

“. . . Yahweh…is the proper personal name of the God of Israel . . . the term Adonai, ‘My Lord’ was later used as a SUBSTITUTE. The word LORD in the present version represents the TRADITIONAL usage.” – New American Bible (Catholic) Introduction to the O. T., Page XI.

“In this translation we have followed the orthodox Jewish Tradition and substituted ‘the Lord’ for the name ‘Yahweh’ . . .” — Preface – 1935 Bible; J. M. Powis Smith and Edgar J. Goodspeed

“The avoidance of the original name of God (Yahweh) both in speech and, to a certain extent, in the Bible . . . first arose . . . in Babylonia. According to Dalman (l.c. pp. 66 et seq.),” -The Jewish Encyclopedia TETRAGRAMMATON; by Crawford Howell Toy, and Ludwig Blau

“When the Yisraeli (Israelites) came out of Babylonian captivity, they brought along with them the Babylonian culture, and along with it Babylonian beliefs and superstitions. One of these pagan Babylonian practices or beliefs was called “ineffability.” This was the superstition against using the name of a deity for fear of something bad happening to them.

The idea was that if you said the name of a deity he or she would notice you. The pagan practice of ineffability was further reinforced by Greek Hellenization.”- (b.Pes. 50a) (b.Kidd. 71a).

“The idea that only the priest could utter The NAME of The HEAVENLY FATHER, and that he was to disguise or hide it from the common people, came from the idea that the NAME was “ineffable” or “unutterable”. However this was a pagan doctrine that they adopted from the Egyptians, Babylonians, and the Greeks . . .” -THE FINAL REFORMATION; KOSTER P.54, P112

“Herodotus correctly calls the supreme god of Babylon Bêl (“lord”), because his real name was not pronounced. “ -[Herodotus, Histories 1.181-2; tr. Aubrey de Sélincourt]

“The ineffability of divine names was on old idea in Egypt…the name of Osiris himself was said to be ineffable…the name Marduk of Babylon was also declared ineffable. The Greeks avoided the names of their deities and preferred to call them by the titles Kurios and Theos.” -The Final Reformation By Dr. Koster; pp. 54 and 112

“. . . But at least by the third century B.C.E. the pronunciation of the name YHWH was avoided, and Adonai, “the Lord,” was substituted for it . . .” – Encyclopedia Judaica (p. 679)

“The Hebrews considered The Name of God to be ‘ineffable’ and substituted in reading  Adonai (My Lord).” -Columbia Encyclopedia Vol. 2 -under the subject ‘God’ 

Some Bible translators will go as far as saying they removed the name YHWH from the Bible because Jehovah is not the proper way to pronounce the name in Hebrew. This is a sorry excuse to remove the name from the Bible. If this were a valid reason then they would have to remove the name Jesus, Jeremiah, Solomon, Jonah, Joel, Joshua and even Jerusalem from the Bible since they are not written or pronounced the same way in Hebrew. 

“. . . the Committee . . . is, omitting the name of God (because) the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew . . .” – The Preface of the Revised Standard Version

We do not see anywhere in the Bible that YHWH tells us not to say His name. In fact, if you read Psalms you will find that King David exalts and mentions the name over 100 times.

Psalms 8:1 O YHWH our Sovereign, how excellent is thy Name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Psalms 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy Name, O thou most High. 

Psalms 9:10 And they that know thy Name will put their trust in thee: for thou, YHWH, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Exodus 3:15 And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, YHWH Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My Name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.

Genesis 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that YHWH Elohim made the earth and the heavens,

“Yahweh is the name that indicates the God of the Hebrews. Where the Philistines worshipped Dagon, the Egyptians, Amon, and the Ammonites, Milcom, the Hebrews worshipped Yahweh. The title ‘god’ (elohim) is ALSO applied to false deities in the Scriptures as well as Yahweh, Hence is NOT a term by which one can be distinguished from the others. When the voice said, ‘I am Yahweh,’ there was no doubt in any listener’s mind as to the identity of the speaker.  He was the God of the Hebrews. So far as is known, no other peoples called their god by this name.” – Review and Herald, December 16, 1971

“In the Scriptures there is the closest possible relationship between a person and his name, the two being practically equivalent, so that to remove the name is to extinguish the person. (Numbers 27:4; Deuteronomy 7:24) To forget God’s name is to depart from Him.” –Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, p. 571 (1964) 

Lastly, let us look and see what Yahshua the Messiah had to say about Yahweh’s name.

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 

Matthew 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of YHWH. 

John 17:25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.

John 17:26 And I have declared unto them Thy Name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

Matthew 28:18 And Yahshua came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. 

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: 

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. 

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 

Luke 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of YHWH. 

John 5:43 I am come in my Father's Name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 

John 10:25 Yahshua answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father's Name, they bear witness of Me.

John 12:28 Father, glorify Your Name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ 

John 17:6 I have manifested Your Name unto the men which You gavest me out of the world: Thine they were, and You gavest them Me; and they have kept your word. 

John 17:11 "And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. 

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy Name which Thou gavest Me, and I have kept them, and not one of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 

We can see that Yahshua used the Creators name and taught it to His disciples. So my conclusion would be this:

If the Messiah used and taught the name, so should I.

After all, to be a disciple is to be a follower (or student). If I proclaim to others that I am a follower of Yahshua the Messiah, my actions should speak louder than my words. I should be trying to behave the way Messiah did, and do what the Messiah did.

Many scholars throughout the last thousand years agree that the removal and hiding of the sacred name of our Creator is merely a tradition of men. This should never have been implemented. What is the impact of taking away a name and using a title? It takes away relationship. Are you closer with someone you call by their given name or with someone you call Mr. Smith or sir or Your Majesty? Even children feel this when they hear someone they call mom or dad called Mr. or Mrs. They sense the difference in relationship and can feel the personal closeness they share with their parent is lacking in the one who calls them by their title. I know a teacher who is called by title by her students. Even the other staff in the building calls her by title. So when she hears someone call her given name, she turns with surprise. “Who knows me? It must be someone I am close with, someone who knows me, not just my job.” Removing our Creator’s name has placed distance in our relationship with Him. Do you know Him well enough to call Him by name? He is waiting for you to be close and personal with Him!

Psalms 5:11 “ . . . And let those who love Your name be joyful in You.”