Yehovah – Say the Name of God!

D id you know the Bible mentions the name of the God of Israel 6,828 times?  (Strong’s #H3068 & #H3069)  Yet, if you ask most people the name of God, they can’t tell you.  Many can name the gods of other countries, cultures and pagan religions, but not the name of the one and only true God – YHVH  (יהוה   in Hebrew).

Why is this?  Why isn’t His name spelled out in our Bibles?  And, what have we missed all these centuries by not using His actual name?

As with other traditions and customs, the reasons for this have evolved over the centuries.  The most prominent comes from the Hebrew rabbis who’ve guarded and passed down the scriptures.  They believed that the name was too holy to pronounce, and thus instructed the priests and scribes to change it to “Adonai” when they came across it.  The word “LORD” (in all caps) in our Bibles today is the English translation of the word “Adonai.”

Ironically, another reason using the name of Yehovah was discouraged was in order to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others.  In the 3rd century bce, “As Judaism became a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun elohim, meaning ‘god,’ tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others.” (http://www.eliyah.com/whythlrd.htm).  Christians began making the change in the 2nd century CE, and it became a prominent practice by the 4th century, with the Church Fathers translating the scriptures to Latin replacing “YHVH” with “Dominus” meaning Lord. (http://www.eliyah.com/whythlrd.htm)

From that noble beginning, the word “LORD” replaced the Hebrew name “YHVH” (or יהוה  ) in our Bibles.  Today, as a result of man’s changes to the word of Yehovah, his name has been completely overshadowed by names of other man-made gods.

Other contributing factors to the disappearance of Yehovah’s name through the centuries include debates on how to say the name “YHVH” accurately, so as not to misrepresent or dishonor Him.  Still others are wanting to protect the name from being erased or defaced (based on Deut 12:3-4 and others), which has led Jews today to write “G-d” as a way of protecting the name in written form from dishonor or disregard, should the paper it’s written on be ruined or discarded.

In our desire to honor Yehovah, we’ve made new rules contrary to his word that have resulted in just the opposite.  We’ve virtually nearly erased his very name from the earth, while the names of other gods gain prominence.   We’ve replaced the word nearly every time and, consequently, shrouded Yehovah from view in our cultures and even in our churches.

Today, with so many people and cultures recognizing some sort of made-up god or gods, many have come to believe – either ignorantly or deliberately (or both) – that all gods are ultimately referring to the one true God – whatever name you want to call him or her.  There’s this notion of “the universe” – one authority in the cosmos that unites all the gods.  For instance, many of your friends – believers included – likely think that both Christians and Muslims serve the same god, and just call him by a different name.  Some would prefer that Christians go on thinking this, because it promotes peace and unity of mankind.  But Muslims don’t believe in or serve the God of Israel, Yehovah, and when Yehovah’s followers acquiesce to believing in “God” instead of using his name, we’re actually showing our naivety, allowing their god to be equal with Yehovah, and robbing Yehovah of his glory.

When we don’t use the name Yehovah or specify the God of Israel, our hearers or readers can insert whatever god they’d like, giving their god credence, glory, honor and visibility.  In the case of Muslims, they use their god’s name all the time, several times per day.  We now live in a world where more people know the name of the Muslim god, than the one true God – Yehovah.

The Power of the Name

Why would Yehovah inspire nearly every writer of the books of the Bible to use his name if he didn’t want his people using it?  In the books of Moses alone, the name YHVH (or יהוה  ) is spelled out in the Hebrew manuscripts over 1,600 times, beginning in Genesis 2:4.  Imagine if every time you saw the word “LORD” (in all caps) it read Yehovah or Yahweh (as some pronounce it).  You’d be seeing and saying his name nearly 7,000 times as you read through the Bible.  This was the intent of the authors of the Bible, and, might I add, of Yehovah himself (“All scripture is inspired by Yehovah…” 2 Tim. 3:16).

Why does Yehovah want us using his name?  In searching the scriptures for references to using his name, I came to understand the many benefits of doing so.
(I have restored “Yehovah” where the word “LORD” appeared in the following verses.)

His Name Provides Strength & Protection

His Name Provides Blessing

We Can Praise and Honor Him by Using His Name

Yehovah Considers Not Saying a Name an Act of Dishonor Reserved for His Enemies

We are Encouraged – Even Commanded – to Say His Name

Our Patriarchs Called on His Name

Abraham

Isaac

Moses

Elijah

David

 We’ll Say His Name in the Millennium

Say the Name of Yehovah!

What have we lost by hiding – and even avoiding – the name of Yehovah for so many centuries?  Start now – take refuge in his name, say it, proclaim it, write it, praise his name, bless his name and be blessed by it, magnify his name, love and honor it.  I encourage you to read Yehovah back into the scriptures and see how he reveals himself to you.  Call on his name – use it in prayer, praise and with other people.  Regain what you’ve been missing and may his name be known throughout the earth!

“O magnify Yehovah with me and let us exalt his name together.”
Psalm 34:3

“And Yehovah will be king over all the earth; in that day Yehovah will be the only one, and His name the only one.”
Zechariah 14:9



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