Yahweh / Jehovah

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 

Genesis 2:4

Imagine that the people closest to you felt that your name was so special that they wouldn’t ever say it. So, for example, if my family felt that my name was too special and decided to call me “Henrietta”. Now, Henrietta is a nice name, but it isn’t mine. How would you respond if that happened to you?

In Genesis 2:4 we find the next name we will look at. It is translated LORD with all capital letters. This is the name Yahweh or Jehovah. God actually revealed this name to Moses on Mount Sinai, but since Moses probably wrote the first five books of the Bible, he used the name that the Israelites knew God by. What’s interesting about this name is that the Israelites refused to write this name, read it aloud or say it. They believed that it was so holy that it needed to be avoided. Usually the Israelites would replace it with Adonai. When scribes write the word Jehovah when they are copying Scriptures, they would bathe first. In Hebrew this name was spelled YHWH. The vowels were not written. This is why there is some disagreement about the pronunciation. Some scholars say it is pronounced “Jehovah”, but most believe that it is pronounced “Yahweh”. The vowels of Adonai were put into the name YHWH, so it became YaHoWaH. Yahweh is the most frequently used name for God. It is found 6,823 times, 5,321 of those are in the Old Testament!

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

Exodus 3:14

God revealed His personal name to Moses, just because Moses asked! His name means “I Am”, not I Was or I Will Be. Although He is both of those, too! He is, and always has been, and always will be. The name Yahweh reminds us of God’s self-existence. He is sufficient for anything and everything that we need. God delivered the people of Israel from bondage to the Egyptians. Yahweh is holy. Holiness means to be separate, set apart from sin and its effects of death and defilement.

Connection to Jesus: The Hebrew version of the name Jesus is “Yeshua”, which means “Yahweh saves”. Jesus purpose in coming as a human being to earth, was to deliver us from bondage to sin. He came to save us from our sins.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21

Jesus referred to Himself as “I AM” on occasion:

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 

John 8:58

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said.

John 18:5

Jesus also used “I Am” with many other phrases throughout His ministry. Many are found in the book of John:

  • I am the Bread of Life. (6:35)
  • I am the Light of the World. (8:12)
  • I am the Gate for the Sheep. (10:7)
  • I am the Good Shepherd. (10:11)
  • I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (14:6)
  • I am the Resurrection and the Life. (11:25)
  • I am the True Vine. (15:1)

In closing, it is definitely important to make sure that we are not using God’s name inappropriately. The third commandment says, “You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your Elohim, for the Yahweh will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” I don’t think this means that we are not to say His name. I just think we need to be careful to always be reverent, not to use it inappropriately.

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