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There is almost universal consensus among scholars today that the sacred Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is to be vocalized and pronounced Yahweh. Probably the name means literally “He is.” Some argue, somewhat philosophically or metaphysically, that it presents God as the eternal self-existent One — the absolute, unchanging God (the eternal I AM — Exodus 3:13-15; cf. John 8:58). To them the name connotes the underived and independent existence of God.
God’s Name And Character
If there is a God, it is reasonable to think that He will have devised some means of telling us about Himself. We believe that the Bible is God’s revelation to man, and that in it we see the character of God revealed. This is why the word of God is described as His “seed,” 1 Peter 1:23) because if it reacts with our mind, a new creature is formed within us which has the characteristics of God (James 1:18; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore the more we apply ourselves to God’s word and take the lessons to ourselves, the more we will become “conformed to the image of His son” (Romans 8:29) who was in character the perfect image of God (Colossians 1:15). In this lies the value of studying the historical parts of the Bible; they are full of case studies of how God has dealt with men and nations, always displaying the same basic characteristics.
Extol Him by His Name Yah
The Psalms are full of praise to the name of God. They reflect the hearts of the writers in extolling his name and giving glory to the Creator of this universe. It is essential to appreciate the magnificence of an omniscient, omnipresent and intelligent first cause before conceiving the necessity for all flesh to bow before the Lord of all creation. With this reverent approach we attempt to understand the significance of the words forming the title of this article, and which are often quoted in our circles.
What’s in a Name?
“I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14). God’s response when Moses asks for his name is famous for both its simplicity and its mystery. But what exactly does it mean?
The Memorial Name of God
The Memorial Name of God, by which He has been pleased to reveal Himself in Israel is a Hebrew word of four letters, and is spelled—Yod, he, vav, he ( יהוה ). In our English Bibles this word is, in all but a few instances which can be counted on the fingers, represented by the word LORD, in small capital letters; that is, however, without reckoning when it is preceded by the word Adonai, when it is represented by the word GOD, in the same type. In seven cases—and in three of these it forms part of the name of a place—this quadriliteral word is rendered in the Authorised Version, “Jehovah.” As they are pointed in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible, the four letters form a word pronounced Yehovah. Some have wondered how the letter J came to be the initial of the word, as well as of the shorter form Yah—in the common version, Jah. The answer is found in the fact that early translators and commentators wrote in Latina language which has no such letter as Y, and those scholars selected J to do duty for the letter they wanted...
Elohim: The Angels or God Himself?
An otherwise excellent religious magazine which has recently come to hand, there is an article with the above heading. In the course of his article, the author says:
Made Lower Than Elohim
Regarding Psalms 8:5, where Elohim is translated “angels,” this comes from the LXX (and Jewish expositors) and represents how the Hebrew translators of the LXX thought fit to render Elohim in this context. Ellicott, in his commentary (on Hebrews 2:7) says that the LXX translators tended to soften down expressions relating to God which seemed strong or bold as savouring too much of the gods of Greek mythology. The R.V. renders “lower than God” this is the correct translation. The Speaker’s Commentary says of the A.V. translation that “the word Elohim . . . does not appear anywhere to mean distinctly ‘angels.’” Paul’s citation of the LXX in Hebrews 2:6-7 proves nothing as between “the angels” and “God.” N.T. writers used the LXX in making quotations from the O.T. as sufficiently accurate to suit the matter in hand. So here. Paul lays no stress on the word “angels” nor is his argument affected if we follow the Hebrew text and read “God.” Paul helps us to understand how man was made a little lower than, or better—a little while inferior to—the angels or God, by explaining in v. 9 that the inferiority refers to man’s mortality. (See Speaker’s Commentary on this verse). Man, higher than the rest of God’s creatures, is nevertheless below the Divine nature, whether God or the angels, in that he can die. The citation from the LXX is sufficient to establish Paul’s argument but should not be pressed outside that argument.
The Meaning of the Hebrew Title “Elohim"
I should like to place before readers some considerations which cause many to reject P.H.A.’s [the Editor’s] viewpoint as stated in the December, 1947, Testimony [magazine]:
Elohim: A Plurality of Beings, and Oriental Parallels
[Correspondent] W.G.L. (Birmingham, UK) writes: I was very glad to see that a protest has at last been made against the common assumption that the plural form of Elohim denotes a plurality of beings, and I thought you might be interested in the following Oriental parallels to the use of the plural form “gods” as a singular concept. (I am indebted chiefly to Jirku’s Altorientalischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament.)
By My Name JEHOVAH Was I Not Known To Them
Question: C. H. Fry (Dartford) writes:
"Elohim” Is Not a Name
In Genesis 2, God opened up a new period in His dealings with man, there being revealed not only as Elohim (God), but as “JEHOVAH-Elohim”—“the LORD God,” revealing personal interest by the use of a personal name.
The Tetragrammaton: Some Observations
The articles which appeared inthe issues for April and May under the heading “The Tetragrammaton” involve some very important and controversial matters. Indeed so little is dealt with about so much. Mention is made on p. 124 that “the Hebrew verb is comparatively timeless compared with ours,” reference being given to Driver’s Hebrew Tenses as a basis for the statement. We feel, however, that the statement is quite inadequate and demands some elaboration. The Hebrew verb has no tenses, and this is the burden of Driver throughout his work.¹ Samuel Green has written, “The Hebrew verb has no tenses, the time of action, past, present or future, must in every instance be gathered from the context…. The Hebrew tense disregards time, and only looks to completed action.”² The most informative book ever written upon the matter is The Romance of the Hebrew Language by W. H. Saulez who declared, “To one who has been accustomed to read the Bible in English, it comes as a surprise, which he can hardly take in at first, that the Hebrew verb is devoid of tenses, and that ‘perfect,’ ‘present,’ ‘imperfect’ or ‘future’ are only borrowed terms from our Western Grammars and applied to the Jewish” (p. 107). “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and utterance finds vent in a manner of speech which is absolutely distinct from rules of Western Grammar” (p. 108). Of the borrowed terms “perfect” and “imperfect,” Driver says these “are employed in their etymological meaning, as signifying ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’; they must not be limited to the special senses they have acquired in Greek or Latin grammars.”³ Therefore the basic thought in the Hebrew verb is not time, but state. It is either complete or incomplete, done or doing. If we pay attention to this mode of narration, strange as it may be to us, many difficulties will solve themselves. The desire to bring Hebrew into some sort of line with Western modes, however, has also brought its difficulties.
The Tetragrammaton: A Special Name for the God of the Jewish People
In the Old Testament is found a special name for the God of the Jewish people, which from earliest times was spelled with four letters, and hence has been called the tetragrammaton. The pronunciation of the original name is not now known, since Hebrew writing contained only the consonants until many centuries after it had ceased to be a living language. This name, transcribed into the nearest English equivalent letters is YHWH, and a shortened form of it, which is contained in many compounds used as personal names, is also used alone, mainly in poetry, as YH.
Word Study: YHWH—"LORD"
For thousands of years Jewish people have daily prayed these words which summarize the Bible’s call for faithfulness and devotion to God. We will explore all of the key words in this prayer and what they meant in their original language and historical context.
The Spelling of the Tetragrammaton
The spelling of the Tetragrammaton and connected forms in the Masoretic Hebrew text (vowel points in red):
The tetragrammaton (from Greek Τετραγράμματον, meaning “[consisting of] four letters,”) is the Hebrew theonym יהוה, commonly transliterated into Latin letters as YHWH. It is one of the names of God used in the Hebrew Bible. The name may be derived from a verb that means “to be,” “to exist,” “to cause to become,” or “to come to pass”.
a-dō ́nī, ad-ō-nā ́ī (אדני, ‘ădhōnāy): A Divine name, translated “Lord,” and signifying, from its derivation, “sovereignty.” Its vowels are found in the Massoretic Text with the unpronounceable tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH; and when the Hebrew reader came to these letters, he always substituted in pronunciation the word “‘ădhōnāy̌.” Its vowels combined with the tetragrammaton form the word “Yahweh (Jehovah).” See GOD, NAMES OF.
Tetragrammaton, (τέτταρα, four, and γράμμα, letter), a term to designate the sacred name of the Deity, Jehovah, in four letters, יהוה. By the possession of this name the early Jewish opponents of Christianity declared that the miracles of Christ were performed. Tile mystical word Om of the Buddhists of India and Thibet is supposed to possess similar virtues to the present day.
LORD: The Divine Name
ʾĒl (or ‘Il, written aleph-lamed, e.g. Hebrew: אל, Syriac: ܐܠ, Arabic: إل or إله, cognate to Akkadian: ilu) is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “god” or “deity,” or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major Ancient Near East deities. A rarer spelling, “‘ila,” represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and in Amorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic archaic biliteral ʔ–L, meaning “god”.
Elohim (Hebrew: אֱלֹהִים) is a grammatically plural noun for “gods” or “deity” in Biblical Hebrew. In modern Hebrew it is often referred to in the singular, despite the -im ending that denotes plural masculine nouns in Hebrew.
Elyon (Biblical Hebrew עליון; Masoretic ʿElyōn; traditionally rendered in Samaritan as illiyyon) is an epithet of the God of the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. ʾĒl ʿElyōn is usually rendered in English as “God Most High,” and similarly in the Septuagint as “Ο ΘΕΟΣ Ο ΥΨΙΣΤΟΣ” (“God the highest”).
I Am that I Am
I Am that I Am (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, ehyeh ašer ehyeh [ehˈje aˈʃer ehˈje]) is the common English translation (JPS among others) of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means “existed” in Hebrew; ehyeh is the first person singular imperfect form and is usually translated in English Bibles as “I am” or “I will be” (or “I shall be”), for example, at Exodus 3:14. Ehyeh asher ehyeh literally translates as “I Am Who I Am.” The ancient Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 lacks a future tense as modern English does, yet a few translations render this name as “I Will Be What I Will Be,” given the context of Yahweh promising to be with his people through their future troubles. Both the literal present tense “I Am” and the future tense “I will be” have given rise to many attendant theological and mystical implications in Jewish tradition. However, in most English Bibles, in particular the King James Version, the phrase is rendered as I am that I am.
Jah or Yah (Hebrew: יהּ Yahu) is a short form of Yahweh (in consonantal spelling YHWH Hebrew: יהוה, called the Tetragrammaton), the proper name of God in the Hebrew Bible. This short form of the name occurs 50 times in the text of the Hebrew Bible, of which 24 form part of the phrase “Hallelujah”.
Jehovah (/dʒᵻˈhoʊvə/ jə-HOH-və) is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, one vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible.
Yahweh (/ˈjɑːhweɪ/, or often /ˈjɑːweɪ/ in English; Hebrew: יהוה) is the national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah. His origins are mysterious, although they reach back to the early Iron Age and even the Late Bronze: his name may have begun as an epithet of El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon, but the earliest plausible mentions are in Egyptian texts that place him among the nomads of the southern Transjordan. In the oldest biblical literature he is a typical ancient Near Eastern “divine warrior” who leads the heavenly army against Israel’s enemies; he later became the main god of the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) and of Judah, and over time the royal court and temple promoted Yahweh as the god of the entire cosmos, possessing all the positive qualities previously attributed to the other gods and goddesses. By the end of the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), the very existence of foreign gods was denied, and Yahweh was proclaimed as the creator of the cosmos and the true god of all the world.