The Sacred Names of God
J. B. Rotherham asked the following valid question in the introduction to the Emphasized Bible: "Men's names are throughout the Scriptures fraught with significance, enshrining historical incidents, biographical reminiscences, and so forth; and why should the Name of the Ever Blessed be an exception to this rule?" 1
The Father’s Name
In Exodus 23:13 we are commanded not to mention the names of other gods; however, because of what the modern English translators have done with our Bibles, it is the name of our God that is seldom, if ever, mentioned by the majority of our people. The King James Version of the Holy Bible renders the Third Commandment as follows:
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7) *
However, that is not how God's Holy Spirit intended for it to be written. The inspired Third Commandment is as follows:
“Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain; for YHWH will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
Making Vain the Name
The four letters YHWH (pronounced Yahweh) were inspired by God's Holy Spirit to appear in the Old Testament over 6,800 times. Then why can it not be found in our common English versions except where it appears in an abbreviated form at the end of the word Halleluyah?
The English translators on their own volition replaced God's name with something entirely different. What arrogance! What God inspired, no human translator has the right to change or remove, no matter how good the excuse sounds. King Solomon declared:
“...what is his [God's] name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure...Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:4‑6)
Yet that is exactly what most English translators did. They took away and added to God's Word by replacing His personal name Yahweh with the capital letters LORD and GOD or with the hybrid word Jehovah.
In perverting the text, the English translators actually broke the Third Commandment since they made the name vain, that is, of none effect The word vain, as found in the Third Commandment, is translated from the Hebrew word shav (Strong's #7723). William Gesenius defines it in part as "emptiness, nothingness, vanity...worthlessness."(2) It is the same word used by Moses in the Ninth Commandment translated false:
“Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 5:20)
In other words, we are not to use God's name falsely or bear false witness to it by replacing it with misleading titles and uninspired substitutions.
It has been declared that the Third Commandment has nothing to do with the literal name of God, but rather with the authority of His name. Authority is intrinsic to the Third Commandment; however, it remains impossible to exclude God's personal name from this commandment. For example, a Roman soldier's authority was in the name of Caesar, however, had he presented himself in the name of Nebuchadnezzar, his authority would have been nullified.
Consider the following emphasis that God Himself put on His name:
“And God said more over unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the Children of Israel, YHWH God of your fathers ...hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Exodus 3:15)
Consequently, we have been charged to remember, to commemorate and to memorialize His name. Yet, most modern translators have done just the opposite and have nearly wiped God's sacred name from the memory of His people.
After admitting that "While it is almost if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced 'Yahweh,'" the translators of the Revised Standard Version provide the following excuse for the elimination of God's personal name from the Scriptures:
For two reasons the [Revised Standard Version] Committee has returned to the more familiar usage [of substituting YHWH with either the LORD or GOD] of the King James Version: (1) the word 'Jehovah' does not accurately represent any form of the name ever used in Hebrew; and (2) the use of any proper name for the one and only God...was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church. (3)
What audacity! What gives any man or any group of men the right to overrule God? God alone knows best what is and what is not appropriate for the Christian Church.
The editorial board of the New American Standard Bible made the following admission:
This name [Yahweh] has not been pronounced by the Jews...Therefore, it has been consistently translated LORD.” (4)
But what the Jews pronounce, or do not pronounce, has nothing to do (or should have nothing to do) with what God inspired in His Word.
The Smith and Goodspeed translation is probably the most frank:
“In this translation we have followed the orthodox Jewish tradition and substituted "the LORD" for the name ‘Yahweh’ and the phrase ‘the Lord GOD’ for the phrase ‘the Lord Yahweh.’” (5)
In light of Matthew 15:3, there is no excuse for what the English translators did:
“But he [Yahshua] answered and said unto them, Why do ye [Jews] also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”
The Savior’s Name
“Let us now direct our attention to the New Testament and the name of our Savior. Following are seven reasons for using the Hebrew name Yahshua in lieu of the English name Jesus:
The Memorial Name
God chose Yahweh or its shortened form Yah to be His memorial name to all generations (Exodus 3:15). Only the name Yahshua memorializes that name.
The Name Above All Names
The Son's name is the name above all names (Ephesians 1:20‑21); (Philippians 2:9). But what name specifically is above all other names?
“...Stand up and bless Yahweh your God for ever and ever: and blessed be Thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, are Yahweh alone...” (Nehemiah 9:5‑6)
Since the name above all names is Yahweh, only Yahshua can be the Savior's name.
A More Excellent Name
The Son inherited a more excellent name (Hebrews 1:4). From where did the Son inherit His name? From the Father, of course. Consequently, He could only inherit from the Father what the Father Himself possessed. Did the Father possess the name Jesus or Yahshua? The answer seems quite apparent especially when one keeps in mind that the Father is addressed by the abbreviated name Yah forty‑nine times in the Old Testament (Psalm 68:4; etc.), which can only be found in the Hebrew name Yahshua.
The Son to Come in the Name of Yahweh
Our Savior manifested or made known, the Father's name while here on earth ‑ John 17:6, 26. In only three New Testament
passages do we find the Son actually introducing Himself. The first time is found in the account of the Apostle Paul's conversion
in Acts 9. The second and third times are found where Paul was recounting the same event in Acts 22 and 26. One of those
accounts informs us in what language the Savior manifested His name to Paul:
... I [Paul] heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue.... And I [Paul] said, Who are
thou, Lord? And He said, I am Yahshua.... (Acts 26:14‑15)
Had the Savior used the English name Jesus, He would not have been manifesting the Father's name.
Since the family name Yah is found in both the Father's and the Son's name, Yahshua could appropriately say: "I am come in
My Father's name...." (John 5:43)
In John 12:12‑13, certain Jerusalem residents proclaimed:
Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the LORD.
This is a quotation from Psalm 118:26 in which the tragrammaton (the Hebrew letters YHWH) was substituted with the
uninspired words "the LORD." In other words, in fulfillment of this Old Testament prophecy, those Israelites were proclaiming
the Messiah as having come in the name of Yahweh. Only in the name of Yahshua could it be said that the Savior came in
the name of Yahweh.
The Son's Name Was To Mean "Yahweh Saves"
When Mary was pregnant with the Son of God, Joseph was told to give her offspring a name that meant: "he [Yahweh] shall
save his people." (Matthew 1:21) The English name Jesus does not fulfill that (as it has no meaning in any language, being a
Greek/Latin hybrid); however, that is precisely what Yahshua means. Yahshua in Strong's Concordance is #3091 which is
defined as coming from #3068 ‑ Yahweh, and from #3467 ‑ yasha, which means "to save.(6) " Together Yahweh and yasha,
or Yahshua, means Yahweh saves.
New Testament Baptism was to be in The Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
From the evidence provided in the book of Acts, we know that the disciples did not baptize using the formula "in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). Rather they baptized in one specific name ‑ Acts 2:38,
etc., a name that accurately represented all three. What name fulfills the conditions of the Great Commission? What choices do
we have for the Father's name? There are no Greek or English equivalents for the Father's name, LORD and GOD are not
names but are titles and Jehovah is a 16th century hybrid corruption. On the other hand, it is known that God's personal name
is Yahweh ‑ shortened to Yah forty‑nine times in the Old Testament.
What choices do we have for the Son's name? Given the options of Iesous (Greek), Jesus (English) or Yahshua (Hebrew),
which of the three can also be used for the Father and the Holy Spirit? Only Yahshua.
The Apostle Paul quoting Joel 2:32 (properly translated) declared:
...whosoever shall call upon the name of Yahweh shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
How does one call upon the name of Yahweh? In only one place in the New Testament are we told how this is accomplished:
[Ananias speaking to Paul] And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling
on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16)
Just three days prior, the Savior had manifested His name to the Apostle Paul in Hebrew as Yahshua. So what name do you
suppose Paul was immersed in or that he called upon in fulfillment of Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13? The name of the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit! The name Yahshua!
The Deity of Yahshua
Lastly, and most importantly, the Hebrew pronunciation of our Savior's name should be used since the deity of Yahshua is
proven therein. If the Hebrew names had been left intact in the Scriptures, it would be much more difficult, if not impossible, for
a person to be persuaded against the deity of Yahshua the Christ.
Consider the Old Testament prophecies regarding Yahweh that were attributed to Yahshua. For example, whose way was
John the Baptist to prepare? Who was to be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver? Whose side was to be pierced? Who was the
stone that the builders rejected, and who was to become the chief corner stone? If your answer to these questions is Jesus, you
had better look at those prophecies again! In those passages **, the tetragrammaton was removed and replaced with the
words "the LORD." Restore God's personal name YHWH and it becomes immediately apparent that those prophecies were
about Yahweh fulfilled in Yahshua.
Not only that, but when we use the Hebrew name of our Savior, it clearly describes not simply what some man is doing or what
some prophet is doing or even what another god is doing. It describes what the GOD of gods, the great I Am, what
YAHWEH is doing! Our Savior was named in Hebrew Yahshua because it means Yahweh saves. Additionally, our Savior
was named in Hebrew Immanuel, meaning God with us, which testifies to the same.
THESE SEVEN REASONS (AND MORE ***) REVEAL THAT THE HEBREW NAMES YAHWEH AND YAHSHUA
SHOULD BE OUR PREFERRED CHOICE.
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*The Third Commandment is rendered essentially the same in all other standard English versions.
**Isaiah 40:3; Zechariah 11:12‑13; Zechariah 12:1, 10; Psalm 118:19‑22.
***Anyone wanting a more comprehensive presentation of this topic may write to Mission to Israel Ministries and request
The 3rd Commandment series (5 sixty minute cassette tapes which also put the words "lord," "God" and "Christ" in their
proper Scriptural perspective). A $20.00 donation is suggested or these tapes can be obtained on a listen‑and‑return basis.
1. J. B. Rotherham, "Introduction," The Emphasized Bible (Cincinati, Ohio: The Standard Publishing Company, 1897) p. 26.
2. William Gesenius, "7723," The New Brown‑Driver‑Briggs‑Gesenius Hebrew‑English Lexicon (Peabody, Massachusetts:
Hendrickson Publishers, 1979) p. 996.
3. Revised Standard Version Committee, "Preface," The Holy Bible Revised Standard Version (Cleveland, Ohio: The World
Publishing Company, 1962) p v.
4. The Lockman Foundation, 'Foreward," New American Standard Bible , Updated Edition(Anaheim, California: Foundation
Publications, Inc., 1997) p. iv.
5. J. M Powis Smith, "Preface," (1927) The Complete Bible: An American Translation (Chicago, Illinois: University of
Chicago Press, 1948) p. xv.
6. James Strong, 'Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary,' The New Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville,
Tennesee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990) p. 48.