What about The Lord / Jehovah / Yahweh / God ? Let's Investigate in This Teaching.

Growing up, and even now, I still refer to our God as "Lord" or "God," but is that strictly accurate? In the Bible, many other gods had names, and those names clearly carried significant importance. Numerous characters in the Bible experienced name changes by God, and if names held no significance, why would such transformations occur?

Names Have Meaning

As previously mentioned, many individuals received their names from God, including Adam, Isaac, Jacob, and even Yeshua (the true name of Jesus). Each of these names carried a profound meaning, bestowing purpose and often foretelling a prophecy based on their significance. For instance, Abraham's name meant "Father of Many Nations," while Yeshua signified "God Saves."

This idea really gives power to the following verse:

Exo 3:14 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.’ ”

God's name, which essentially translates to "I AM," embodies profound meaning. He encompasses everything and imparts meaning to all that surrounds us. His divine nature is truly remarkable.

God Has Given Us His Name

God speaks of His mighty name in many places in the Bible:

Num 6:27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Zec 13:9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ 

Jer 16:21 “Therefore I will teach them— this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the LORD.

Lost in Translation

Photo by Holden Baxter / Unsplash

Regrettably, a case of "lost in translation" has led to the widespread forgetting of God's true name. In the original texts, only one word is used to represent the words Yahweh, Lord, God, or Jehovah, and that word is "יהוה"

(Strong’s Hebrew – H3068 – יהוה – yehôvâh – yeh-ho-vaw’).

This word appears over 6000 times in the Bible, serving as the authentic name of God.

Due to significant differences in alphabets, a precise translation into English remains challenging. "יהוה" roughly translates to YHVH or YHWH, a pronunciation that proves to be impossible in English. This word hails from early Hebrew, where God's name was written without full vowels for reasons that I will elaborate on later in this article.

In English-translated Bibles, whenever you encounter the term LORD, it is meant to represent YHVH.

So if we do some quick substitutions for some common verses, this is what you should read:

Isa 42:8  I am YHVH; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Jer 16:21  “Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is YHVH.”

Eze 39:7  “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am YHVH, the Holy One in Israel.

Pronouncing YHVH

So, which one is accurate? It's a challenging question to answer. During those times, יהוה served its purpose. However, after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, linguistic reforms occurred, causing this language to gradually fade into obscurity. By 140 AD, uttering God's Name aloud was even prohibited. Scribes began writing YHVH on documents to ensure that God's name remained unspoken, although many still knew how to pronounce it correctly.

The English translation of the Bible didn't begin until 1535. Somewhere between these two time periods, "Lord" had become the default term, especially in English. Thus, we technically lack a definitive or concrete way to pronounce the word יהוה (YHVH).

In the original King James translation, the authors attempted to pronounce this word as "Jehovah" One might think this is the correct pronunciation, given that they had the most recent information. However, there's a complication with that argument: the "J" sound does not exist in Hebrew. In fact, all names in Hebrew that start with "J" are actually pronounced with a "Y" sound. For instance:

  • John is Yohanan
  • Jesus is Yeshua
  • Joseph is Yosef

Therefore, the accurate pronunciation of יהוה (YHVH) remains a subject of debate due to the historical complexities and the limitations of translation across languages.

Knowing this, it becomes evident that perhaps the closest version we have to God's true name is not Jehovah but Yehovah. The term Jehovah was employed because of the discovery of the Leningrad Codex and the Aleppo Codex, which are the oldest transcripts of the Old Testament in Hebrew. These texts contained the complete set of vowels, which were then translated into Jehovah (more accurately pronounced Yehovah).

Another piece of evidence supporting "Yehovah" instead of "Jehovah" can be found in the original English Bible from 1535 (not the first King James version), where the word "Iehouah" is used, bearing an identical pronunciation to Yehovah.

In Conclusion

Names in the Bible carry profound meanings, so shouldn't the God we worship have one as well? This is the question we have attempted to address in this teaching.

The term "LORD" is a mistranslation of יהוה (YHVH), a set of vowels added by early scribes during a time when uttering God's name was prohibited. Over time, as the English language evolved, the true name of God was spoken less and less, and "LORD" came to replace it.

With the aid of discoveries such as the Leningrad Codex, translators pieced together what they believed to be God's true name, Jehovah, or more accurately, Yehovah, since the "J" sound does not exist in the Hebrew alphabet.

Of course, calling Yehovah "God" or "Lord" will not result in condemnation. Still, shedding light on His name can be intriguing and may reveal more about His true nature. To truly understand your Father in Heaven, perhaps addressing His name is one way to draw closer to Him.