THE SACRED NAMES BELIEF
There are some people who hold the belief that salvation is dependent on the ability to recognize and vocalize the names of God the Father and Jesus Christ as they appear in the original text of the Bible.
Does your salvation depend upon how you pronounce the name of the Creator of the physical universe? Is there divine inspiration in the phonetic representation of the names of God the Father and Jesus Christ? Does an individual who can recognize and pronounce these names correctly have access to supernatural powers?
This belief is commonly referred to as the 'Sacred Names' doctrine. And the adherents of this doctrine are often called Yahweists, because Yahweh is one of the Hebrew names for God.
The following are the major tenets of the Sacred Names belief:
Is This Doctrine Important?
The Sacred Names teaching is so important to many of its believers, that most of their worship toward God and their literature surrounds this one issue. It is also evident from the literature that they produce concerning their beliefs that all other doctrines of their belief system take second place to this one issue.
The belief in the Hebrew Sacred Names doctrine may seem unimportant to some people and even ludicrous to others. However, it is of such a major concern to some groups that they have spent a great deal of time, money, and effort writing books, pamphlets, and study papers about this subject.
A DANGEROUS BELIEF
There is merit in researching the names of God; however, this research has given rise to the dangerous belief that the recognition and pronunciation of the name of God is a prerequisite for salvation.
There is absolutely no way to give a quick and easy answer to confirm or deny the validity of the Sacred Names doctrine, because those who teach this belief use many scriptures in their attempt to prove their point. Because of this, it will be necessary to examine each foundational point in detail so that there will be enough information on which to base an intelligent conclusion in regard to this false doctrine.
Specifically, this study answers the following questions in order to show the impact that belief in this doctrine can have on one's salvation:
1. Are people required to worship and serve the Sovereign Father and his Son or their names?
The answer to this question is of utmost importance to our salvation. Moreover, the question of whether or not to follow the Sacred Names doctrine is even more basic than the ability to correctly recognize and pronounce the name of the Ones who English speakers recognize as 'God the Father' and 'Jesus Christ.' The basic issues of the Sacred Names doctrine revolve around three foundational questions:
Once these three basic questions are answered it is easy to see the fallacy of the Sacred Names doctrine.
2. Is the meaning of a name important, or is it the pronunciation that is important?
3. What was God's name before the Genesis Flood?
4. Is the Hebrew name of God a 'mantra' or 'talisman' to the Sacred Names believer?
5. Is there some power in the Hebrew name of God when it is pronounced correctly?
6. Do the Sacred Names believers worship the Supreme Sovereign or do they worship his name?
The answers to these questions are important in order to understand the seriousness of the Sacred Names doctrine and its potential impact on those who are truly seeking to worship the true Supreme Sovereign of all that exists.
There is nothing inherently wrong with people using the Hebrew or Greek name of the Sovereign Father or his Son as a part of their language. The problem is not whether the name is 'Yah', 'Yahwey', 'Elohim', 'Theos', 'Logos' or any other derivation of what is thought to be the correct pronunciation of their sacred names; the problem is the importance some people place on the phonetic sound of the name in relation to salvation and the teaching that the inability to recognize or pronounce their names' adversely impacts on one's relationship with the Sovereign Father and his Son.
The Sacred Names doctrine states clearly that, unless a person knows the exact name of God and its pronunciation, there is no salvation for that person. If this teaching is correct, there are many questions about how a person can and cannot gain salvation. This teaching leaves the following people without hope of salvation:
If the usage of the phonetic sound of the name of the Savior is the only way a person can obtain salvation, Abraham, Moses, King David and a host of others will be left out of Kingdom of God, because none of these people ever heard the name of the Savior.
THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE THEORY
Was Hebrew the universal language before the Flood? Many of the Sacred Names groups believe it was. However, there is no proof to substantiate this belief.
Let Us Confuse Their Language
"And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And the Lord said, Behold, the people are one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing that they have imagined to do will be impossible for them. Let us go down and confuse their language, so that they may not understand each other. So the Lord scattered them upon the face of all the earth: and they stopped building the city" (Gen.11:5-8 Para.).
Here, we learn four major things about these people who were building this city and a tower:
1. They all spoke the same language
2. This language was confused by the Creator
3. The people were scattered throughout the earth
4. This confusion of the language gave rise to other languages
Nowhere in this account is there any reference to these people's language being a universal language or a language that was spoken before the Great Flood. It is entirely possible that there were many different pre-Flood languages, and that Noah and his family brought any number of them to the post-Flood world. The thing that precipitated God's intervention was the explosion of knowledge and technology among the people who lived in this one area of the world, and the need to stop their technological progress in order for God's plan for the salvation of humanity to proceed as scheduled (Gen.11:1-6).
There is abundant proof that the Great Flood of Noah's time did happen. However, there is no evidence that the language that Noah and his family spoke before this flood was Hebrew, because the flood destroyed the evidence. However, artifacts have been discovered that seem to indicate that a written language different from Hebrew existed before the Great Flood.
In the spring of 1891 a farmer named J.H. Hooper discovered a buried wall many thousands of feet long, this wall extends from the Hiawassee river north of Chattanooga southward, where it dips under the Tennessee river. Upon this wall a number of blocks were discovered which were covered with hieroglyphs of a strange language interspersed with small pictures of the sun, crescent moon, and animals, many of which were unidentifiable. All together, 872 individual characters were noted with many being repeated, which indicates that these hieroglyphs were indeed a written language (Translations of the New York Academy of Sciences (11:26-29) written by A.L.Rawson).
Tennessee Wall Hieroglyphs:
At Lawn Ridge north of Peori, Illinois, in August 1870 three workmen who were drilling a well brought up from a depth of 114 feet a coin-medallion in the drilling mud. This coin-medallion was about the size of a U.S. quarter and made of a copper alloy, machine rolled and acid etched with the picture of a woman on one side and the picture of a crouching animal on the other. Around the outer edges of both sides were found glyphs of very definite character, that show all the signs and form of alphabetic writing (Sparks From a Geologist Hammer by Professor Alexander Winchell).
While these two discoveries do not prove that Hebrew was not one of the languages of the pre-flood world; their discovery does document extremely ancient languages of unknown origin that bear no resemblance to ancient or modern Hebrew, or any other known script.
THE FATHER OF THE HEBREWS
Eber, the father of the Hebrews, was not born until about 73 years after the Flood and at least 60 years after the Tower of Babel incident. If he was the father of the Hebrew language, what was God's name before Eber? Did the Hebrew language exist before Eber? What does history show to be the language in existence at the time of Babel? Some historians say that the Hebrew language only dates back to about 2,200 B.C. Of course some feel it is much older. The problem with any of the dates discussed is that there are just as many opinions as there are dates, and there is no totality of agreement among the various historians.
However, it is known that Sumerian history antedates that of the Hebrews by about a thousand years. Therefore, it seems likely that, if there was a single language in use at the time of the Tower of Babel, it would have been Sumerian, which is definitely not Hebrew. Some point to the ancient Moabite Stone to prove Hebrew was the universal language, but the writing on the stone only proves two things: It shows that the name of the Hebrew God was different from the heathen god Baal, and that Hebrew was one among many languages in use during that time.
According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, article 'Alphabet', the Hebrews adopted the alphabetic script along with cultural values from the Canaanites during the eleventh and twelfth centuries B.C.. They followed and used the Phoenician script until the ninth century B.C. when they began to develop their own national script. So, the Hebrew alphabet, as we know it today, had its origin in the proto-Canaanite alphabet and is not 'sacred' in any sense of the word.
A NEW PURE LANGUAGE
Why would God find it necessary to bring a new pure language to the earth if Hebrew is that pure language. The necessity of a pure language should raise questions as to the validity of Hebrew being the language of the future. It should also bring into question the Hebrew pronunciation of God's name as being the purest. The following scripture leaves no doubt as to when the Lord will restore or institute a pure language:
"Therefore wait on me, says the Lord, until the day that I will rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will turn to the people a pure language, that they may call on the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent" (Zeph.3:8-9 KJV).
THE NEW TESTAMENT
One of the reasons for discussing the Old and New Testaments separately in this study is to expose the fallacy of one of the major tenets of the Sacred Names doctrine that states that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, not Greek. If this were true, where are the original Hebrew documents kept? And can they be viewed and authenticated like the Greek documents? If this claim were true, where is this canonization of the New Testament in the Hebrew language? God says that he would preserve his word, so if it was preserved, where is it? There is no physical proof of this supposition?
If indeed there is an original text, it has been hidden extremely well from those whose life work is to discover and publish such findings. Most importantly, why do the Sacred Names groups use and quote from the Greek New Testament to try to prove many of their doctrinal positions, if they do not believe it is a valid text?
NO ACCURATE TRANSLATIONS
In the article Exploding The Inspired Greek New Testament Myth by Assemblies of Yahweh, we find the following statement:
"We believe that although the original text was inspired, there is no such thing as an inspired translation. Therefore, until such time as the original documents are unearthed, we must base all doctrine on the Old Testament. We should utilize the New Testament, however, and always allow the Old Testament to interpret the New . . .The oldest manuscripts extant with the exception of some Syriac fragments are Greek . . .The first point we would like to establish is that there are no original manuscripts of any book or portion of the New Testament extant today."
It is interesting that all of the Sacred Names groups seem to agree that the original New Testament was inspired. However, they say there are no inspired or accurate translations of these original texts in existence today. If the New Testament is not the inspired Word of God, there is no reason to use it for spiritual guidance or quote from it. Moreover, if there are no accurate translations, we do not have a guide to salvation. And if there is no guide, we are all without hope of eternal life, because in this age we do not have a means of atoning for our sins, which those of ancient Israel had (i.e., the sacrificial system and the priesthood).
Many of the Sacred Names groups attack the King James translation by saying its translators were only mortal men. Yet, they recommend and quote from the Sacred Name translation, the Moffat, Rotherham, Smith, Goodspeed, Jerusalem Bible and many other translations, which were all translations by mortal men.
Most scholars who support the idea that there is evidence of Aramaic influence behind the New Testament Scriptures limit this influence to only a few books. Some Sacred Names advocates carry this to the extreme by teaching that the entire New Testament was written in Aramaic. However, there is absolutely no proof that the New Testament was written in any language other than Greek.
It is not the intention of this study to defame anyone's character. However, one can only wonder about the credibility of a person's or a group's research when they openly state that they do not believe the Greek New Testament translation is valid and proceed to use a scripture from the Greek translation as support for one of their major doctrines.
If Sacred Names adherents feel that the Greek New Testament is not the inspired word of God, they should not use it to try to prove their beliefs, because it is not logical or scholarly. Furthermore, if these researchers want to be consistent in their logic and scholarship, they should not use the Greek New Testament to prove any of their beliefs.
To accept the belief that there is no inspired New Testament, requires the view that the early Christians were so indifferent and careless that they allowed the original writings of the apostles and others to be completely replaced without a word of protest. Such an assumption is preposterous.
THE LAMSA TRANSLATION
Many individuals in the Sacred Names groups believe that the authorized Bible of the Church of the East (i.e., the Peshitta) is the original canonized New Testament. Many quote from a translation of the Peshitta by George M. Lamsa and believe that Lamsa's translation was taken from an original Aramaic text; therefore, it should be used in place of the King James Version.
There is no doubt that the Peshitta exists and is the Bible of the Church of the East but was it translated from the original New Testament text?
In regard to the source of Lamsa's translation of the New Testament, one of the leaders of the Church of the East says, "The Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic originals, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision" (Catholicos Patriach of the East, Preface, Lamsa Bible, by Mar Eshai Shimun).
Christ reprimanded the disciples saying:
"These twelve Jesus sent out, and charged them, and said, Keep away from pagan practices and do not enter a Samaritan city; But above all go to the sheep which are lost from the House of Israel" (Matt.10:5-6, Lamsa).
"And he answered, saying to them, I [Christ] am not sent, except to the sheep which went astray from the house of Israel" (Matt.5:24, Lamsa).
"James a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered among the Gentiles; Greeting." (Jms.1:1 Lamsa).
Lamsa translates the name of the Savior as 'Jesus Christ' and not 'Yahweh' or 'Yahshuah.' Moreover, the above scriptures in the Lamsa translation say that the original apostles were to go only to the descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. If the apostles did deliver the canon to those of the Church of the East, they disregarded the clear instructions of Christ, because these people are not Israelites.
Additionally, the Peshitta is written in Aramaic, not Hebrew. And this is documented by Lamsa and other scholars. If Aramaic, which is not Hebrew, was the language in which the original New Testament was written, why would the Aramaic version use many Greek and Chaldean words in its text?
GREEK THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE
During the time of Christ and the apostles, Greek was the language of the Roman world. The vast majority of the Diaspora (scattered Israelites) could not speak Hebrew or Aramaic. It is interesting that Jesus came from that section of Palestine that was regarded as corrupt in the eyes of the Jews in Jerusalem, because Greek was the common language there (Matt.4:15; 12:18; Jn.1:46). It is also interesting that neither Hebrew or Aramaic were suited for the proclamation of the gospel message, because they could not easily express the abstract concepts that are found in the New Testament.
Christ commanded the apostles and disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Lk.24:47). Greek was the inter- national language of the day; therefore, it was the most appropriate language in which to preach the gospel message.
Acts 6 shows that the Jerusalem Church was comprised of Greek and Aramaic speaking Jews. In fact, the seven men appointed to oversee the needs of the widows all had Greek names, which indicates that they probably spoke the Greek language.
Aramaic versions of the New Testament extant today are translations from the Greek, and it is well known that the origin of the Peshitta is unknown beyond the fact that it is a close translation from the Greek. Lamsa claims that the Peshitta Gospels preserve the words of Jesus better than the Greek Gospels; however, other scholars disagree and say that the Aramaic version does not preserve God's sacred name.
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS OF QUMRAN
In 1947 a young Arab shepherd boy named Mohammed discovered a small cave that contained what are called the Dead Sea Scrolls. And from 1947 to 1955, many more caves were found to contain scrolls. What makes these scrolls so exciting is that some of them were written as early as 150 B.C., which gives further proof that the Old Testament we have today is textually correct.
The astounding discovery of the first six caves establishes that the Essene people of Qumran were a part of the Jewish culture. However, a more startling find was made in mid-march of 1955 in cave number seven, which indicates that some of these Essenes were Christians. What people are not generally told is that the seventh cave contained portions of the books of Acts, Romans, Timothy, II Peter, and James, which were all written in the Greek language. Apparently, some of the Essene Jewish scholars who lived at Qumran around 70 A.D. had been converted to Christianity.
The discovery of these New Testament fragments among these Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls proves that the Greek language was the language of the New Testament. These fragments of the New Testament constitute authentic evidence that the words of Jesus were widely known and recorded throughout the first century in Palestine. It is also evident that, as early as 70 A.D., the writings of the early church leaders were being compiled and collected in the Greek language of the day.
Bible numerics are a tremendous proof that the Old and New Testaments are both the inspired Word of God. Hebrew and Greek are two languages in which each letter of the alphabet has a numerical value. A number of books have been written to explain the numerical sequence of the subject matter of the Bible. This numerical system is so precise that it is exact to the primes of numbers. Both the Old (Hebrew) and New (Greek) Testaments fit together in this numerical structure no matter what the subject may be. However, the Chaldean/Aramaic cannot be made to work within this design. This is a dramatic and demonstrative proof that the New Testament was originally canonized in the Greek language.
THE LANGUAGE OF THE TIME
History shows us that Hebrew gave way to Aramaic by the time of our Savior. Although Hebrew had ceased to be used, the Aramaic that was used was called 'Hebrew'. Historians also agree that Greek was the language that united people in the Roman Empire.
The Jewish historian Josephus shows in his writings that the Greek language was understood well by Jews living in and out of Palestine. In fact, the Mishna shows there were synagogues in which the Jewish law permitted Greek to be spoken: "May be read in foreign tongue to them that speak a foreign tongue" (Megillah 2:1). And it further permitted: "That the books [the law, the writings, Psalms, etc.] may be written in any language." However, at the time of Christ these books were "only permitted to be written in Greek" (Megillah 1:8 The Mishnah, by Herbert Dandy).
Although the majority of historians and Biblical scholars agree that Aramaic (not Hebrew) was the primary language of the Jewish inhabitants of Judea, and that Greek was the universal second language of the day, Josephus says:
"I have taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks and to understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue [Aramaic], that I cannot pronounce Greek with such exactness." (Josephus spoke Greek with an Aramaic accent).
"For our nation does not encourage those who learn the languages of other nations, and so adorn their discourses with the smoothness of their periods; because they look upon this sort of accomplishment [learning Greek] as common, not only to all sorts of freemen, but to as many of the servants as pleased to learn them. But they give him the testimony of being a wise man, who is fully acquainted with our laws [which was rare among the Jews!] and is able to interpret their meaning" (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XX, chapter XI, Section 2).
Josephus says it was a rare Jewish scholar (i.e., wise man) who understood Hebrew well enough to be versed in the law. This is not only because Hebrew was extremely difficult to learn but also because Aramaic was the language of the Jews, not Hebrew. It was very common for the ordinary person to learn and speak Greek during the time of Christ.
The books of Hebrews and Matthew are the only two books that historians have ever claimed were written in Hebrew or Aramaic/Chaldean, and translated into Greek for canonization. Even the Aramaic version of the New Testament that we have today is freely admitted to be translated from Greek, despite what Dr. Lamsa of the Lamsa Bible claims.
The idea that Hebrew is a sacred language is not valid. The Sacred Names argument rests primarily on the assumption that the Hebrew language is some sort of sacred language to the exclusion of all other languages. There is no valid proof that there has ever been a pure language on the earth. God recognizes the various languages of the world, which was demonstrated on the day of Pentecost in 30 A.D., when the holy spirit was given to the apostles and disciples (Acts 2:1-11).
Both the Old and New Testaments have words from many different languages spread liberally throughout (e.g., Chaldean, Latin, and Aramaic). It is not necessary to list the many words from the different languages that were used in the Bible, because the documentation is easily accessible from Bible helps and research publications.
The important point is that God allowed words from other languages to be used to convey his truth. If Hebrew were to be the only language used for this purpose, there would not be a Greek translation of the New Testament for the elect of God to use; God would have given a Hebrew translation.
The end-result of accepting the Sacred Name doctrine is a complete disbelief in the inspiration of the New Testament.
If God went to the trouble of inspiring the New Testament in Aramaic, as Sacred Names advocates say, why would he allow it to become a corrupt and unreliable Greek text? Surely, such a concept is an open denial of the power and love of God! If God is as concerned about the world as Sacred Names advocates say, we can be sure he did not let his truth become corrupted.
A PROPHETIC WARNING
We are warned not to add to or take away from the prophecies of the Book of Revelation. To do so will result in the loss of salvation. This is a very serious penalty for tampering with the truth of God. Anyone who would assume the responsibility of reconstructing a new Hebrew version of the New Testament, which would include a restored Book of Revelation, should consider this warning:
"For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Rev.22:18-19). See also Deut.4:2; 12:32; Pro.30:5-6; Gal.1:6-9.
WHO WAS THE CREATOR GOD?
It is extremely easy to miss the conceptual meaning of many scriptures unless one understands the difference between God the Father and the Creator God. Once this knowledge is gained, much of the plan and purpose of the God family becomes crystal clear. Also when one is able to prove who the Creator God was in relation to the God family, the Sacred Names belief system can be understood for what it truly is.
The foundational mistake the Sacred Names groups make is believing that the Sovereign God and the Creator God are the same God. This foundational mistake is the cornerstone on which they build their Sacred Names belief. They repeatedly state in their literature that one should worship the Creator God as God the Father. This foundational assumption is false. In fact, the false belief that the Creator God is the Father of the Messiah conceptually cuts one off from God the Father who is revealed in the New Testament.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen.1:1). It is very hard to find a Bible scholar or a linguist who does not agree that the word 'God' in verse one is the Hebrew word 'Elohim' which is a plural noun that means 'Mighty Ones'.
However, here is where almost all agreement stops. This one word, which conveys the meaning of unity and allows for a plurality of spirit-beings, is the key to understanding what the Family of God is and who its members are. Without this understanding, it is impossible to comprehend the real meaning of the names of these 'Mighty Ones', the magnitude of the sacrifice of our Savior, or much of anything else to do with their awesome plan for mankind.
A MIGHTY ONE NAMED EL
In the Bible, the Hebrew word 'El' which means 'a Mighty One', is often translated as 'God'. In Exodus 17:1, 'El' is combined with another Hebrew word 'Shaddai' ('El-Shaddai') which means 'the Almighty God' or 'God the Almighty One'.
THE 'I AM THAT I AM'
When they first met, Moses asks God:
"And Moses said to God [Hebrew: Elohim], Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God [Elohim] of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them?" (Ex.3:13 KJV).
God tells Moses that he is Elohim. All of the documentation available says that Moses compiled the Book of Genesis and most of Exodus. In compiling the Book of Genesis, Moses uses the Hebrew word 'El' and its descriptive combinations to address and describe 'A Mighty One'. Doesn't it seem strange that for the first 2,500 years of mankind's history Moses records the name of the Creator God as being 'El' and not 'Yahweh' ('YHVH')?
"And God [Elohim] said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM [Hebrew: Haya] has sent me to you" . . . (Ex.3:14). The English word 'I AM' is a translation of the Hebrew word 'Haya', which means 'to be', 'to become', 'to exist', or 'to happen.' The Creator God told Moses to tell the people that the 'Haya' (the 'One Who Is', the 'Self-Existent One') is who he is.
If the Creator God wanted to be called Yahweh, he would not have had Moses call him 'Haya.'
"And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God [El] Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH [YHWH] was I not known to them" (Ex.6:3).
El confirms that he was only known to the Patriarchs by the names of El. But what about this name 'Jehovah' in the King James translation?
THE WORD 'JEHOVAH'
Although many people have been taught that 'Jehovah' is the correct name of God, it is not. A quick and easy search of Bible concordances, references, dictionaries and word study books will show that the word 'Jehovah' is a totally incorrect translation of the Hebrew word used for this deity:
"This word 'Jehovah' is generally held to be the invention of Pope Leo X's confessor, Peter Galatin . . . who was followed in the use of this hybrid form by Fagius. But it seems that before Galatin, the name Jehovah had been in common use . . . since it is found in Raymond Martin's 'Pugio Fidei' written in 1270" (Jewish Encyclopedia, article, Jehovah, volume VII, Page 88).
This and many other sources leave no doubt that the word 'Jehovah' is an incorrect translation of the Hebrew word 'YHVH.'
WHY ALL THE CONFUSION?
Why is there so much confusion about the name of God? The reason is that the true pronunciation of the Hebrew word 'YHWH' has been lost. Because the Hebrew language uses consonants and semi-consonants and does not use vowels, it was easy for the exact pronunciation of 'YHWH' to become lost.
After the days of the prophet Jeremiah, the Jews became very superstitious and decided that the name YHWH was too holy to be spoken. Instead, they used the word 'Adonai', which means 'Lord' or 'Master'. Over time, the proper pronunciation of YHWH became lost. No one today knows exactly how to pronounce YHWH; therefore, there is much confusion about this name.
Translation and Pronunciation
Many people have done a lot of research concerning the tetragrammaton (YHWH) and they have assumed that by strength of mind, intellect, or divine guidance they would be able to discover the correct pronunciation of the tetragrammaton. However, even with the thousands of hours of scholarly research, labor, and reams and volumes of research papers and books written on the subject, the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton seems to be as elusive as ever.
There are many who think that they have found the answer and can give a very convincing argument. But, so can their opposition. Where does this leave the non-scholar? Which researcher, scholar, body of theologians, or historians is one supposed to believe?
The Name YHWH
"And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, and by my name YHWH I never made myself known to them" (Ex.6:3).
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament by Harris, Archer, and Waltke gives the following explanation of the mysterious word 'YHWH' that is used in Exodus 6:3:
"The tetragrammaton YHWH, the Lord, or Yahweh, the personal name of God and the most frequent designation in scripture, occurring 5,321 times . . . in the O.T. except seven times where the name is particularly stressed [Ex 6:3; Ps 83:18 . . . Isa 12:2; 26:4] . . . or combined with other elements, such as Jehovah Jireh [Gen 22:14; Ex 17:15; Judg.6:24; consistently Jehovah]" (page 210).
Although The Theological Wordbook has about two and a half pages of some of the best scholarly work to be found on this subject, it is not the final authority. There are many who disagree totally with the conclusions reached by the authors of this book. However, the most important authority on this subject is the Bible.
GOD THE FATHER AND THE SON
In John 1:1-14 there are some very difficult scriptures, which cannot be understood without the knowledge of who and what the Family of God is. If one believes in Monotheism, Dualism, or Trinitarianism, one cannot understand what is being said in the first chapter of John. But, if one knows that the Family of God consists of two membersGod the Father and the Creator God (God the Son)these scriptures can be understood.
John 1:1-3 KJV
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (v1).
In this context, the 'Word' (Greek: 'Logos') does not mean a part of speech or language. It is a title of the Son of God: "Logos, the Word, the personal manifestation, not of a part of the Divine nature, but of the whole Deity" (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 1253).
At the beginning of creation there was one called the Word and this Word was with God (Greek: 'Theos' which means 'Deity'). Not only was this Word with the Deity (God) but also the Word was a Deity.
"The same was in the beginning with God" (v2). John makes a further distinction between these two spirit-beings (the Logos and the other Deity) by restating the fact that this Logos was with the Deity.Why would John emphasize this distinction if there is only one God?
"All things were made by him [The Word, i.e., The Logos]; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (v3).
John says all things that exist were made by the Logos who was with the Deity. Why did John have to explain this? We know that he was writing to Christians and Israelites who should have known the identity of God. So why was he expounding on this fundamental principle?
The Mystery of God
The apostle Paul spoke of God the Father and Jesus Christ as a mystery that was understood by the Colossians and the Ephesians. When this mystery is understood, it becomes much easier to comprehend the gospel message and its importance to the plan of God for the salvation of humanity:
"For I want you to know how great a struggle I have concerning you, and those in Laodicea, and those who have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts may be comforted, being joined together in love, and to all the riches of the full assurance of the understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God, even of the Father, and of Jesus Christ" (Col.2:1-2).
"And to make all see what the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent now to the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal wisdom which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph.3:9-11). See also verses 3-6.
Paul also makes the same distinction that John did regarding these two distinct, individual spirit-beings and the relationship between them.
Paul also substantiates the writings of John in stating that there is one God who is in charge (the Supreme Sovereign) and directed Christ to create all that exists: " But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him" (1.Cor.8:6 KJV).
John 1:4-14 KJV
"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (vs.4-5).
Simply put, the vast majority of the people who saw and heard Jesus did not know or understand who he was or why he came to earth. The same can be said for the generation in which we live today; very few people really know who he was and the truth and purpose of his coming.
This powerful spirit-being came to earth to perform a mission of great importance, and the vast majority of the people he came into contact with did not even know who he was: "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not" (Jn.1:10 KJV). This may seem sad on the surface; however, it was part of the plan that was made before the foundation of the earth by the one called 'Logos' and the One called 'Theos.'
John further explains who our Savior was: "And the Word [Logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. . ." (v14).
Here, John introduces the reality of the spirit-being called 'the Father,' and there is no doubt from the context that this spirit-being is distinctly different from the Word. The Father is the one whom John says the Word was with. The Father is also the one who Paul says made all things by Christ.
If Jesus Christ is the Mighty One who created all that is, which is plainly stated by John and Paul and a multitude of scriptures, who is this spirit-being John calls 'the Father'?
THE MIGHTY ONE OF ISRAEL
The Sacred Names groups assume that the Mighty One of ancient Israel is the one we call the Messiah, and that he and his Father are the same spirit-being. This assumption contradicts what Jesus and the apostles said about the Father. The truth is that the scriptures speak of two separate spirit-beingsGod the Father and God the Son.
NO HUMAN HAS SEEN GOD
"No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him" (Jn.1:18 KJV).
"And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape" (Jn.5:37 KJV).
Many people believe that these two scriptures refer to the Creator God when they say that no man has seen God. However they actually refer to God the Father, who sent the Creator God to become his physical son and to reveal him as the Sovereign Father of all that exists and to teach his message of salvation.
John clearly says that no man has seen God, and Jesus says that no one has heard the Father's voice or seen his shape; therefore, there should be no question that the God spoken of by John and Jesus is not the same God that walked and talked with humans on earth.
Adam and Eve Walked and Talked with God
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat" (Gen.2:16 KJV).
Some try to justify their monotheistic belief by explaining that the spirit-being people saw and talked with was only an angel who represented God. However, the scriptures plainly state in the accounts where God met and talked with people that it was actually God who spoke with people, not an angel:
"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (Gen.3:8 KJV).
Not only did Adam and Eve hear the voice of God but also they were afraid to stand in his presence.
"And the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you that you should not eat? And the man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. . .To the woman he said . . .And to Adam he said. . ." (Gen.3:9-21 KJV).
After speaking at some length to Adam, Eve, and the serpent, the Creator makes a statement that proves he was not the only God.
"And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" (Gen.3:22).
To whom was the Creator referring when he said "as one of us"? Was he talking to an angel or was he talking to someone else? Remember, the One we call our Savior was the One who createdall things (Jn.1:1-5; Eph.3:9). This reference to a plurality of God-beings becomes very important in reaching a conclusion as to the Father and Son relationship.
Cain Spoke with the Creator
"And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he [the Creator] said, What have you done?. . ." (Gen.4:9-10 KJV).
There is no mention of an angel speaking for the Creator here. It is clear that the Creator is the one speaking.
God Spoke to Noah
"And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth" (Gen.6:13 KJV). See also Gen.7:1; 9:1.
Conversations with Abraham
The Creator appeared to Abram and also sat down and ate a meal with him and his wife Sarah:
"Now the Lord had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you" (Gen.12:1 KJV). "And the Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day" (Gen.18:1 KJV).
"And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man; and he hastened to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat" (Gen.18:7-8 KJV).
Because this type of food preparation takes a considerable amount of time, there would have been ample time for conversation while waiting for the food to be cooked and served. During this meeting God reveals to Abraham why he came:
"And the Lord [YHWH] said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do . . ." (Gen.18:17 KJV).
The rest of chapter eighteen details the conversation between the Creator and Abraham about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jacob and the Creator
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaks. And he said, I will not let you go, except you bless me. And he said to him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray you, your name. And he said, Wherefore is it that you do ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God [Elohim] face to face, and my life is preserved" (Gen.32:24-30 KJV).
The common belief is that Jacob wrestled with an angel, but this is not true; it was actually the Creator who wrestled with Jacob:
"And God [Elohim] appeared to Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said to him, Your name is Jacob: your name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be your name: and he called his name Israel. And God said to him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins" (Gen.35:9-12 KJV).
Moses, Aaron, and Israel
Exodus chapters 3 and 4, show that the Creator personally spoke to Moses and Aaron and he appointed them to be his servants. Moreover on one occasion, he spoke to the entire nation of Israel on one occasion:
"And the Lord said to Moses, Lo, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you for ever. And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai" (Ex.19:9-11 KJV).
In Exodus chapter 20, God speaks to the people of Israel, which was a very frightening experience for the Israelites. In fact, it was so frightening to them that they requested that the Creator speak to them through Moses, not directly to them.
Moses and the Elders
Moses and the Elders of Israel not only had a meeting with the Creator but also they ate a meal with him on Mount Sinai:
"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink" (Ex.24:9-11 KJV).
Face to Face
"And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. . ." (Ex.33:11 KJV).
This is a very clear statement, which shows the kind of close, personal communication the Creator had with Moses. Most people seem to think that the Creator hid himself from mankind and only dealt with his creation through visions or angles. However, this was not the case.
The Creator's Glory
"And he said, I beseech you, show me your glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And he said, You cannot see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen" (Ex.33:18-33 KJV).
It is apparent from the biblical evidence, that many people have seen the Creator in the physical form of a man, and some people were allowed to see a small glimpse of his glorified form. Without a doubt, the scriptures show that humans have talked to and seen the Mighty One who created all that exists. Therefore, who is the being that Jesus and the apostles continually refer to as 'the Father' whom no one has seen nor heard?
JESUS SENT TO REVEAL THE FATHER
"All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt.11:27 KJV). See Jn.17:25-26.
Only Christ can reveal who the Father is and he does this through the Bible for those who are sensitive to the things of the spirit. See Psa.111:10.
"I am one that bears witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me. Then said they to him, Where is your Father? Jesus answered, You neither know me, nor my Father: if you had known me, you should have known my Father also" (Jn.8:18-19 KJV).
Jesus says that if they had really known the God whom they professed to obey, they would have known that Jesus was the God of their fathers, whom they prophesied would come in the flesh. And if they knew that, they would have been able to know that Christ came to reveal the Father to them and they would know both Jesus and his Father.
"I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father" (Jn.8:38 KJV).
"These things have I spoken to you, that you should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yes, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God a service. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me" (Jn.16:1-3 KJV).
Christ Did Not Send Himself
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (Jn.3:16-17 KJV).
Christ did not send himself, as some people teach. The scriptures clearly say the One who is called 'God the Father' sent him to become the Savior of humanity.
"That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him" (Jn.5:23 KJV).
"I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me" (Jn.5:30 KJV). See also verses 36-38.
"I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive" (Jn.5:43 KJV). See also Jn.5:30-37; 6:44,57.
Jesus clearly says that he came to earth as a representative of his Father. Just as the people did not believe the clear statements of the Savior then, they do not believe his written word today:
"Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses in whom you trust. For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if you believe not his writings, how shall you believe my words?" (Jn.5:45-47 KJV).
WHO IS THE FATHER?
The Savior was the Mighty One who created all that exists, which is plainly stated by John, Paul, and in a multitude of scriptures. But, who is this Father who sent him to earth? Who is this being John calls 'the Father'?
"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt.11:25-27 KJV). See also Mk.4:11-12.
It is Jesus who is able to reveal the things concerning the Father and the mystery surrounding their Father-Son relationship.
Why did Christ have to reveal certain things about the Father? The only logical answer to why the Father sent Jesus to reveal his existence and so many things about himself (e.g., who he is, what his name is, and what he is doing), was that humanity did not know of his existence and it was time to reveal himself in order for the next phase of his plan for humanity to go forward.
John 17:1-8 KJV
"These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you: As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (vs.1-3).
At this point in history, there were very few people who had any knowledge of who the Father and Jesus Christ were.
"I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do. And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was" (vs.4-5).
Here, Jesus asks God the Father to return him to his former state of existence as an immortal God in the Family and Kingdom of God.
"I have manifested your name to the men which you gave me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them to me; and they have kept your word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever you have given me are of you. For I have given to them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, and they have believed that you did send me" (vs.6-8).
Jesus had fulfilled his mission to prepare those whom the Father had called to salvation and to be taught the truth of God concerning the Family and Kingdom of God and their plan for humanity.
THE FATHER IS IN HEAVEN
"Jesus said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood have not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt.16:17 KJV).
"And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matt.23:9 KJV). See Matt.18:35.
"I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt.11:25-27 KJV). See also Mk.11:25-26; 4:10-12; Jn.17:25-26; Eph.6:19.
These are just a few of the many scriptures that reveal the Father is in heaven. A small amount of study will reveal that the Father will not come to the earth to reside until the final phase of the plan for humanity. See our study concerning the Festival of the Eighth Day for details about the coming of the Father to earth.
It is extremely important to understand that, unless a person knows who the Father is, there can be no understanding of the gospel message that Jesus taught, because it is the Father's message.
WHAT IS THE FATHER LIKE?
"Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from henceforth you know him, and have seen him. Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us. Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?" (Jn.14:5-9 KJV). See 2.Cor.4:3-4.
In reply to Thomas and Philip, Jesus says that he had revealed what the Father was like to them. Jesus revealed the Father's existence, attitudes, thoughts, desires, love, and personality through his own example and teaching.
THE FATHER'S NAME
The next few pages contain many of Jesus' references to the Father. Through these scriptures, it is possible to know what the Father is like and what he wants to be called:
"These things have I spoken to you in proverbs: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day you shall ask in my name: and I say not to you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said to him, Lo, now speak you plainly, and speak no proverb" (Jn.16:25-29 KJV).
"I have manifested your name to the men which you gave me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them me; and they have kept your word" (Jn.17:6 KJV).
"O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared to them your name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (Jn.17:25-26 KJV).
"And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mk.11:25-26 KJV).
"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in your sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him" (Luke 10:21-22).
Why did Christ have to reveal the Father and the Father's name if the Father was the Creator God? The nation of Israel knew the Creator God's name. Therefore, it should be obvious that, if God the Father found it necessary to send someone to reveal who he is, he is not the God the Israelites had known.
His Name is Father
Our Savior said to call upon our 'Father' who is in heaven. The Greek word used in the New Testament to refer to the Father is 'Pater', which is from a root word, that means 'nourisher', 'protector', and 'upholder'. See Matt.6:9; Lk.11:12; Jn.14:13; 15:16.
Some who believe in a monotheistic, dualistic, or a triune God think that somehow our Savior was praying to a part of himself, which he left in heaven while he was on earth. Confusing? Yes, it is confusing and it is not very logical in light of all the very clear scriptures that state Jesus prayed to a being called the Father.
TO WHOM DID JESUS PRAY?
"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will. . .He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, your will be done. . And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Think you that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matt.26:39-53 KJV).
"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which is in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth" (Lk.11:1-2 KJV). See also Matt.6:9.
Mark records a very revealing statement that our Savior made just before his death:
"And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calls Elias" (Mk.15:34-35 KJV).
Jesus quotes a prophetic Psalm (quoted below) that foretold what the Messiah's thoughts and words would be in the last moments of life as a human:
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent" (Psa.22:1-2 KJV).
In Mark 15:34-35, when Jesus speaks to the Supreme Sovereign, he calls him 'God'. It makes no sense whatsoever for Christ to pray to a part of himself, as the doctrines of Monotheism, Dualism, and Trinitarianism teach. All of the scriptural evidence shows Jesus praying to a spirit-being who had authority and power over him. See Jn.14:28.
ASK OF THE FATHER IN JESUS' NAME
Our Savior gave instructions on how to ask the Father for what we need in what is commonly called the Lord's prayer: "After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which is in heaven, Hallowed be your name" (Matt.6:9 KJV).
"And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which is in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth" (Lk.11:2 KJV).
"And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (Jn.14:13 KJV).
"Whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (Jn.15:16 KJV).
Christ says that his followers should pray to the Father who he came to reveal. Conceptually, if a person prays to the God of ancient Israel, they are praying to the wrong God. The Father was not the Sovereign God of ancient Israel; he is the Sovereign Father of all that exists. This concept can only be understood if one understands that the Father and the Son are two separate and distinct individuals in the Family of God.
THE FATHER'S MESSAGE
The good news that Jesus Christ was sent to proclaim was not his message. He was the messenger, just as John the Baptist was the messenger who foretold and prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah. Jesus Christ did not send himself as some teach; he was sent by God the Father to bring his message to humanity:
"The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me" (Jn.14:24). See also Jn.1:1-15; Rom.1:1-3; 2.Cor.4:4-6.
"That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him" (Jn.5:23 KJV).
"I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me" (Jn.5:30 KJV). See also verses 36-38.
"I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive" (Jn.5:43 KJV). See also Jn.5:30-37; 6:44,57.
Clearly the good news message that Jesus brought is from God the Father who is the Sovereign of all that exists.
The apostle Paul also says that the good news message that he preached as a servant of Jesus Christ was not his message but was a message sent from God the Father (2.Thes.1:1-12):
"Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the good news of the Sovereign God that he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, that was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of the Sovereign God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom.1:1-4 Para.).
Since the life, death, and resurrection of the Father's Son, there has been much preached solely about Jesus as a person. As a result, millions do not believe that the message the Father sent his Son to proclaim is the Father's good news.
The Sovereign Father sent his Son bearing his GOOD NEWS of how to become a part of his divine Family and Kingdom, and that his Family and Kingdom are coming to earth to bring peace and happiness to this troubled world.
The Father's message is a message of hope for a wonderful, peaceful, and happy existence under his care and protection for eternity. This is the good news that Jesus, the apostles, and the early Church proclaimed. This is the message that has not been preached in its totality for centuries. Moreover, this is the message that Jesus said would be proclaimed and published to all of the world just before his return as King of kings and Lord of lords. See our study papers concerning the gospel message.
A DEITY BECOMES FLESH AND BLOOD
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (Jn.1:14 KJV). See also Heb.2:9; 1. Jn.1:5-7; Jude 1.
"No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him" (Jn.1:18 KJV).
WAS THE SAVIOR AN ANGELIC BEING?
Some of the Sacred Names groups teach that the spirit-being who came as the Savior was an angel sent from the Creator. They believe that the Savior was not God incarnate, but a spirit-being of lesser status and power. If this were true mankind would be without a Savior, because an inferior being cannot be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins as long as there is a spirit-being who is superior in quality of life. Only a spirit-being who was the Supreme Sovereign or equal in status and power to the Supreme Sovereign could fulfill the position of the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humanity.
The Supreme Sovereign (God the Father) directed the Creator God (Jesus Christ) to create all that exist and to reveal him as his Father and God the Father (Jn.1:1-18; 1.Cor.8:6; Eph.3:9; Heb.1:1-2, 7-10). Jesus revealed the Father and also fulfilled the requirement of the supreme sacrifice, because he was superior to all that he had created (Gen.1:26; 11:7). Only when the Sovereign Creator gave up his immortality and became flesh was he inferior to the Elohim family (Jn.14:28; Heb. 2:9), and this inferiority was only one of mortality versus immortality and flesh versus spirit.
If the Sovereign Creator was not the supreme sacrifice, we do not have a Savior (Heb.9:9-28; 10:1-22; 6:4-8). It is an abominable thing to disdain the sacrifice of our Savior as anything less than the supreme sacrifice. The price paid for our salvation was the death of the Sovereign Creator God. Most of Quasi-Christianity do not understand the magnitude of the sacrifice that was made for each human. There is no salvation for anyone who does not believe that the Savior was the Son of the Father. He was not a lesser being; he was the literal Son of the FatherTHE SON OF GOD. Humanity desperately needs to understand this vital truth because without it there is no pathway to salvation. Read Jn.1:18,34,36; 3:16-18; Matt.3:16-17 to see how serious a matter it is to disdain our Savior's sacrifice.
A FATHER/SON RELATIONSHIP
John 5:18-26 KJV Paraphrased
"Therefore the Jews intensified their efforts to kill him, because they not only thought he had broken the Sabbath, but he also said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for whatever he does, these things the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he does: and he will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises up the dead, and makes them alive; even so the Son gives life to whomever he wants to. For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself."
Read the whole chapter of John 16 for a detailed explanation of the Father and Son relationship between the two Supreme Deities in the Family of God.
TWO SEPARATE BEINGS DOING TWO SEPARATE WORKS
The Father does a work and Christ does a work: "But Jesus answered them, My Father works hitherto, and I work" (Jn.5:17 KJV). Here, we find two separate Beings doing two separate works:
THE ONENESS OF THE GOD FAMILY
One of the great mysteries of popular Christianity is the concept of one Supreme spirit-being who is composed of many spirit-beings (i.e., Monotheism, Dualism, Trinitarianism, Pantheism, etc.). These concepts are very confusing and they cannot be reconciled with the Bible.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God [El], The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Some people believe that this scripture indicates that the Creator is also the Father who is spoken of in the New Testament. The first chapter of the Gospel of John shows that the Creator was the One who became the Christ. However, this same Christ said that he came to reveal the Father whom no one knew. Simply stated, the Creator was the Father of all living, but not the Supreme Father whom he came to reveal. See Matt.3:13-17; 11:27; Jn.16:25-29; 17:25-26.
"And there is no god [elohiym: 'gods'] else beside me; a just God [El: 'A Mighty One' or 'The Almighty'] and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look to me, be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God [El], and there is none else."
To the Israelites this Almighty One was the only Sovereign (Psa.83:18). They had no other god, because he was the One who had created all things (Jn.1:3; Eph.3:9) and he had not yet come to reveal the Father.
ELOHIM IS A FAMILY
Many times, Jesus called the Supreme Sovereign 'Father' and talked about his FatherSon relationship with him. Despite this evidence, most of the professing Christian world believes there is only one God. The reason for their false belief is that Satan has deceived the whole world into thinking the God Family does not exist (Rev. 12:9; 18:23; 19:20; 20:10).
There are scriptures that plainly speak of this Sovereign Family: "For this cause I bow down my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Eph.3:14-15). The Family in heaven now consists of 'the Father' and 'the Son' and in the future it will include those who are called to be Sons (i.e., the true followers of God), the elect of God.
Our Savior called the Father 'ELOI, ELOI', when he was crucified. The apostles and writers said his name was 'THEOS' and 'DEITY' and recorded that Christ called him 'PATER.' Those who will be sons of the Supreme Sovereign call him 'our God' and 'our Father', which is what our Savior commanded us to do. (Matt. 6:9; Lk.11:2; Jn.14:13; 15:16).
THE FATHER IS GREATER THAN THE SAVIOR
"All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father, neither knows any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt.11:27 KJV). Only Jesus can reveal who the Father is and he does this through the holy spirit and the Bible to those who are sensitive to the things of the spirit:
"You have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I" (Jn.14:28 KJV).
THEY ARE ONE
The scripture most used in an attempt to prove that there is only one deity is John 10:30: "I and my Father are one." This scripture is true. The problem is not with the statement; it is with the understanding of what it means. God the Father and Jesus Christ are one; they are of one family and one kind. They have one purpose, one thought pattern, one attitude, one opinion, and one spirit. The Hebrew words used in this verse convey the concept of 'oneness', not the singleness of a being or person. There are too many scriptures that say there are two separate individual spirit-beings in the Sovereign Family of God to believe that this one scripture actually says these two beings compose one being. See our study about who God is for more details on this subject.
ACCESS TO CHRIST THROUGH THE FATHER
"No man can come to me [Jesus], except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (Jn.6:44 KJV).
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God [the Father], and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you" (Col.1:1-3 KJV). Paul was an apostle who was called by the Father (Jn.6:44).
ACCESS TO THE FATHER THROUGH CHRIST
There is no contradiction whatsoever with the Creator saying he was the only Savior and only God. The Creator was in absolute authority over the earth before the advent of the Messiah. Only after the Creator became the Messiah could humans gain access to the Father who is the Most Supreme Immortal Sovereign (Heb.4:15-16):
"My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1.Jn.2:1 KJV).
"He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches" (Rev.3:5-6 KJV).
WHO IS AN ANTI-CHRIST?
"Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is anti-christ, that denies the Father and the Son. Whosoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father: he that acknowledges the Son has the Father also" (1.Jn.2:22-23).
WHAT ARE THE FATHER'S AND THE SON'S NAMES?
Among those who profess to know the exact personal names of God the Father and Jesus Christ, there is much conflict as to the exact characters used to depict the name, the exact vowels used for these symbols, and the exact pronunciation of these characters and vowels.
Here is a partial list of the names that the various groups say are the correct personal names of God. Can you pick the right one?
In addition, the following are absolutely not the original names of God the Father or his Son the Messiah: Adonai, Jesus, Christ, Jehovah, Iesous, Iesus, Christos, God, Gott, Kuros, Theos, and Yod. Perhaps his personal name is not even in the long list above. If your salvation depended on your choosing the right name, which one would you choose? The simple fact is that we do not know the exact pronunciation of their names.
THE MANY NAMES OF GOD
Even though the correct pronunciation of the names of the Mighty Ones (the Elohim) is probably lost, it is still important to know the many names and titles of the God family. Knowing these names will help one appreciate their true character. The following is only a partial list of Elohim's names and titles with their meanings:
"A Mighty One"
"Exalted One; Most High"
"God the Everlasting One"
"God Who Sees Me"
"God of the Covenant"
El-Elohe Israel ..................
"God of Israel"
"God With Us"
"Lord" "God" "Deity"
"As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord [YHWH] our God [Elohim], that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand your truth" (Dan.9:13).
After Babylon conquered the Kingdom of Judah, Hebrew eventually ceased to be the language of the Jews. It was replaced in part by Aramaic, which was spoken throughout the Babylonian Empire. Daniel wrote chapters 2 through 6 of the Book of Daniel in the Aramaic language. And the priest Ezra wrote chapters 4 through 7 of his record in Aramaic. When these two men referred to the Creator in these chapters, they used the Aramaic word 'ELAH' seventy-eight different times. If YHWH were the only name that is to be used to refer to the Creator God, these men would have been careful to use it, especially because they represented the Creator God in an official capacity.
The following are references to other names of God:
Anyone who has read Sacred Names literature rapidly becomes aware of one thing: Scriptures are misinterpreted and literalism is used excessively to force scriptures beyond the limits of context in order to substantiate their doctrine. Most Sacred Names adherents are absolutely locked into the concept that the word 'name' can only mean one thingthe correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. However, as the following references prove, this is not the case.
According to the Sacred Names groups, Psalm 68:4, which says we are to extol God by his nameYahmeans that God has only one nameYahweh. However, this text does not say God has one name only; it says his name is Yah, not Yahweh.
Ezekiel 39:7 is quoted in an attempt to prove that the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton has not been lost. But this text indicates that the events being depicted in this chapter, including the revealing of the name of God, will occur after the return of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 111:9 is used in an attempt to support the notion that the sacred name must be called upon and revered if one is to receive salvation. This text simply states, "Holy and Reverend [awesome] is his name." It does not say what his name is or what its pronunciation should be, nor does it say eternal life is promised to those who use it.
Hebrews 13:15-16 is cited as a text which proves that the use of the sacred name in the worship of God is required. Again, this text does not say which name to use, nor does it say that any name other than Yahweh displeases him.
Jeremiah 8:8-9 is used to describe how the sacred name was removed from the Scriptures. However, this text says nothing about a sacred name. It simply states that wise men have rejected the Word of the Lord, not the name of the Lord.
Exodus 23:13, Joshua 23;7, and Psalm 16:4 are said to prove it is wrong to mention (use) any other title or name except Yahweh as the name of 'the true Mighty One'. The English word 'mention' that is used in these scriptures is translated from the Hebrew word 'zakar', which means 'to infix', 'penetrate into the mind', 'recall', or 'to preserve in memory'. It does not refer to 'not mentioning the names of other gods', which was often done by the prophets; nor does it state that the use of any name other than Yahweh is sinful.
Exodus 20:7 and Leviticus 19:12 supposedly condemn the substitution of any name other than Yahweh, because the word 'vain' means 'to falsify', 'to bring God's name to nought', or 'to substitute'. The Hebrew authority Gesenius says the usage of the word 'vain' in these scriptures means, 'utter not the name of Jehovah upon a falsehood' (i.e., do not swear falsely). This means that one should not use the name of Yahweh when falsely swearing, but it has no reference to using a substitute name for God (see Gesenius, p. 807).
Malachi 1:6 supposedly condemns the priests who despise God's name and is a reference to the ministers today who refuse to give honor to God by not using the sacred name. However, Sacred Names advocates fail to quote Malachi 1:7-14, which shows how the priests were despising God's name.
Matthew 17:11 is used to support the concept that John the Baptist preached the sacred name. However, an examination of this text does not support the idea that John's message included the restoration of a sacred name.
John 17:6,26 is given as proof that Jesus revealed the sacred name to his followers and stirred up much controversy for doing so. Luke 11:52 is also used to show he attacked the Pharisees for deleting the sacred name from the sacred texts. But, there is no evidence in these scripture that supports this claim or shows that Jesus used the sacred name.
Amos 4:13, which the Authorized Version translates as "The Lord, the God of hosts, is his name" is taken by Sacred Names advocates to differentiate between the name and title. Stating that 'The Lord' (Yahweh) is the name, and 'The God of hosts' is the title. The Hebrew text does not contain punctuation here, so there are no commas to indicate a differentiation between a name and a title. The text literally reads, "Yahweh the God of hosts [is] his name."
Amos 5:27 states, "Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is The God of hosts." Sacred Names advocates say this text should be read: "The Elohim of Hosts, whose name is Yahweh." This is another example of violating the Hebrew text. The Hebrew text says: "Yahweh, the God of hosts (is) his name." This shows Yahweh is not the exclusive name of the God of the Old Testament.
Sacred Names advocates insist that, in the New Testament, Jesus came with his Father's name, Yah. They claim that the Messiah's name 'Yahshua' is a combination of Yah with 'shua' (salvation). John 5:43 and John 14:26 are quoted to prove their point. However, neither of these texts say Jesus came with his Father's name. They state he came in his Father's name, which is a reference to his coming with the Father's power and authority. These texts clearly do not prove the Messiah used the name Yahshua.
THE ENGLISH WORD 'NAME'
The English word 'name' is often translated from the Hebrew words 'shem' and 'shum' and the Greek word 'onoma.' None of the words are limited to the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton as Sacred Names groups would have us believe. The following are some of the meanings of the Hebrew words 'shem' and 'shum' and the Greek word 'onoma'
Old Testament Hebrew
New Testament Greek
A name is a created thing, which God commands us not to worship. We are commanded to worship God, not his name. When we ascribe power to a name, we are ascribing power to something that was created, not to its creator. A name has no significance or meaning without the person. A name only serves to identify. Names and titles applied to God describe his attributes, character, and being. Those who call on a name or title as the way to salvation should read Matthew 7:21-22 and Luke 6:46, which speak of people who call upon and appropriate the name of the Lord but do not do the things that he commands.
Further examination of the words 'shem' and 'shum', reveals that Moses spoke 'in' God's name, not 'of' God's name (Ex.5:23). Psalm 138:2 clearly says that God's word is magnified above his name:
"I will worship toward your holy temple, and praise your name for your loving kindness and for your truth: for you have magnified your word above all your name."
JESUS WILL HAVE A NEW NAME
"He that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (Rev.3:12 KJV).
Revelation 19:12 shows that Jesus' new name has not yet been revealed. "He [Jesus Christ] had a name written, that no man knew, but himself" (Rev.19:12 KJV).
"In that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one" (Isa.14:9 KJV). Jesus will have only one name when he returns to earth with the elect of God, but he has many names now.
THE NAME 'EL'
The nation of Israel has the Sovereign's name imprinted upon it. The name 'Israel' literally means 'He will rule as God' or 'He will reign over his people'. Genesis 32:28, Numbers 6:27, and Deuteronomy 28:10 say God's name was to be placed on the children of Israel. The 'El' in Israel is God's name.
THE TEMPLE BETH-EL
The Creator Sovereign of Israel said he would place his name on a place where he could be worshiped. The scriptures that indicate what the building should be called show that there is a new name used for God.
"And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord [YHWH] said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever."
"Therefore will I do to this house, which is called by my name, wherein you trust, and to the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh . . .For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it."
"Also he built altars in the house of the Lord [YHWH], whereof the Lord had said, in Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. . .And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God [Elohim], of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever."
Notice in the above two scripture that his house is called by two different names for God: 'YHWH' and 'Elohim.'
The phrases 'cause his name to dwell', 'place his name there', 'put his name there', and 'my name shall be there' all demonstrate that the meaning of 'shem' and 'shum' (English: 'name'), can mean to claim ownership . See Deut.12:11; 14:23; 16:2,6,11; 26:2; 12:5,21; 14:24; 1.Kgs.8:1-66; 16:29; 9:3; 2.Kgs.23:27. "What God owns he openly possesses by placing his name upon it" (Toward an Old Testament Theology, by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., pp. 134,196-197).
SOLOMON BUILDS THE HOUSE OF 'YHWH ELOHIM'
"You know how that David my father could not build an house to the name of the Lord [YHWH] his God [Elohim] for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house to the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying, Your son, whom I will set upon your throne in your room, he shall build an house to my name."
1.Kings 8:16-20; 28-29
"Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel. And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God [YHWH Elohim] of Israel" (vs.16-17).
Notice his name is the Lord God (YHWH Elohim) of Israel. Here, two distinct names are combined into one name, which the Creator God says is his name.
"And the Lord said to David my father, Whereas it was in your heart to build an house to my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not build the house; but your son that shall come forth out of your loins, he shall build the house to my name. And the Lord has performed his word that he spoke, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built an house for the name of the Lord God [YHWH Elohim] of Israel" (vs.18-20).
"Yet have you respect to the prayer of your servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God [YHWH Elohim], to hearken to the cry and to the prayer, which your servant prays before you today: That your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which you have said, My name shall be there: that you may hearken to the prayer which your servant shall make toward this place" (vs.28-29).
"(For they shall hear of your great name, and of your strong hand, and of your stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; Hear you in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calls to you for: that all people of the earth may know your name, to fear you, as do your people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have built, is called by your name. If your people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever you shall send them, and shall pray to the Lord toward the city (Jerusalem) which you have chosen, and toward the house that I have built for your name."
A short study into the word 'temple' will reveal what some Israelites called the House of God.
1.Chronicles 6:10 speaks of the temple that Solomon built for God. The word used for temple here is 'bethel' or 'bet-el', which literally means 'House of God' (i.e., 'House of El').
The prophet Daniel wrote of the temple and called it "the temple [palace] of the house of God [Elahh]" (Dan.5:3). In his description of the temple, Daniel uses a Chaldean word to describe God. Now one would think that Daniel the prophet would know what to call the temple and indeed he did. He called it the temple of Elahh, which is another name for God.
The House of God was not called the House of Yah or Beth-Yah; it was called Beth-El, Temple of YHWH Elohem, Temple of Elah and other descriptive terms that referred to the Creator God for whom it was built. This alone should cast a great deal of doubt upon the Sacred Names doctrine.
THE HIDDEN NAME
Thousands of years ago the prophet Agur was inspired to ask, "Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if you can tell?" (Pro.30: 4 KJV). Clearly, Agur was speaking prophetically about God the Father and the One who was to become his son (the Creator God). During his lifetime, Agur revealed that there were names for the Sovereign God and his Son that no human knew.
There is also some indication in Jeremiah 23:25-27; 44:26, Psalm 45:17, and Ezekiel 39:7 that the name of God was forgotten from time to time by the Israelites. Perhaps the reason that the name of God is so hard to discern and was allowed to be lost was to prevent man from worshiping it in an idolatrous way.
THE PROPHESIED NAME OF OUR SAVIOR
The Sacred Names doctrine says that the Savior has only one personal name by which he must be called. However, scripture does not support this belief.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" (Isa.9:6 KJV).
Here, there are five different names for our Savior and each has a different meaning and exemplifies a different aspect of his character. They all are his names and give glory to him.
Truly, our Savior is all of these and more. Our Savior is so great that it takes these names and many more to describe his attributes.
WHAT DID JESUS' PARENTS CALL HIM?
What was the Savior called by his earthly parents and friends, while he was living in the flesh?
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel [God is with us]" (Isa.7:14 KJV). See also Isa.8:8-10.
What did our Savior's physical parents and friends call him? Did they call him 'Yah' or 'Yahshua'? If they had called him any of these names they would have probably been stoned for sacrilege.
Almost 2,000 years have passed since our Savior walked the earth. This is a very long time, yet some people place their entire salvation on their ability to pronounce and recognize an ancient name correctly.
For anyone to believe that they know the ancient pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is amazing considering that the scholarly world of theologians and other researchers cannot totally agree on its exact pronunciation.
Notice what the angel says to Mary's husband, Joseph:
"And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins . [Matthew inserts an explanation of this dream] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt.1:21-23). See also Lk.1:28-35.
Even the Lamsa Translation of the New Testament, which many of the Sacred Names groups look to for validation of their doctrine, translates the name of our Savior as 'Jesus'.
Joseph and Mary were both told to call his name Jesus and that the child would be the Emmanuel spoken of by the prophets (Matt.1:21-23; Lk.1:28-35).
There is absolutely no way to reconcile these scriptures with the Sacred Names doctrine of having one name for the Savior. It simply cannot be done. Either the Bible is not inspired and is not the Word of God or there is another explanation.
The only logical explanation is that the phonetic sound of a name is not important. The things that are important are the attributes that the name describes and the spirit-being that the name represents. It is obvious that one single name cannot possibly describe the wondrous attributes of our Savior.
WHO DID OUR SAVIOR SAY HE WAS?
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the son of man am? And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He said to them, But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood have not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt.16:13-17 KJV). The Lamsa Translation agrees with the King James translation here.
Why did Jesus ask these questions? Most Sacred Names groups believe that he was called by Yaho-Hoshu-wah, Yehoshuah, or some other derivation of Yah. If they are correct, Peter gave the wrong answer. Peter says that Jesus was 'the Christos', which means 'The Anointed One'. This phrase is a title not a personal name. Notice that our Savior agreed with Peter's identification of him. Who is right? Peter? Our Savior? Or the Sacred Names groups?
THE NAME JESUS
Some of the Sacred Names groups believe that the name Jesus is actually a corruption of the names of a number of pagan gods, and therefore should not be used to identify the Savior. The following will show that this belief is without merit.
Scholars have demonstrated that there is no etymological connection between the names 'Jesus' and 'Zeus.' Jesus is the Anglicized form of the Latin word 'Iesus'; Iesus is the Latin form of the Greek word 'Iesous.' Iesous is the Greek form of the Hebrew word 'Yeshua.' Zeus and Iesous are not cognates (related in origin). Moreover, there is no connection between the name Jesus and the god called 'Yes'. 'Yes', one of the names of Bacchus, is not connected to the name Jesus by adding the Latin termination 'sus'. Bacchus was one of the names of Nimrod; therefore, there is no etymological connection between the name of the god 'Yes' and Jesus.
A point to consider is that when Paul preached to Greeks at Athens, he preached about Jesus (Acts 17:18,31). The Greeks accused Paul of being a 'setter forth of strange gods'. They did not connect the name Jesus with the Greek god Zeus. This simply points out that there is not a single historical or scholarly source that etymologically connects Jesus with the god Zeus. All authorities state that Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew word 'Joshua' or Aramaic word 'Jeshua'.
The idea that Iesous is the Ionic masculine form of Iaso, the Greek goddess of healing cannot be substantiated. In the abridged and unabridged editions of Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott there is no such word connected with Iaso. Iesous is listed as the name of Jesus, which this Lexicon says is the Greek form of the Hebrew name 'Joshua'. Iesous is in no way related to Iaso, the Greek goddess of healing.
Now what about the title 'Christ'? Sacred Names advocates admit that they have been ridiculed in times past for suggesting that the word Christ is derived from the Indian deity 'Chrishna' or 'Krishna.' Their answer to this criticism is that, in the book The Two Babylons, p.60, by Alexander Hislop, there is an illustration of the serpent Calyia slain by Vishnu in the reincarnated form of Chrishna. They say that this portrayal of Genesis 3:15 depicts Chrishna as the serpent-crusher of India, and that Dr. Ignaz Goldhier who wrote the book Mythology Among the Hebrews, links the deities of India and Greece together. Therefore, the Sacred Names advocates believe that the name 'Christ' is closely associated with pagan worship.
It is admitted by both sides of the Sacred Names issue that the word 'Christ' ceased to be a title and became a part of the proper name 'Jesus Christ'.
THE NAME YAH
A letter found in a mound northwest of the modern town of Ta'annek written in the fifth century B.C. proves that 'Yah' was a deity of the Canaanites. Yah is associated with the Canaanitish Mother-goddess, Ashtart-Anat as seen by the Father-Mother titles of the deity of the Jews at Elephantine. There, the title of Anat-Yaw is seen as well as Ashim-Bethel and Afat-Bethel where the titles of Astarte are combined with the Sun-god, Bethel. At Gaza, Yah appears as a Sun-god on a coin and coins were frequently inscribed with the figure of Ashtart-Yaw, Anat-Yaw, and Anat-Bethel, which corresponds to the Phoenician Melk-Ashtart and Eshmun-Ashtart (The Mythology Of All Races, Vol. 5, p. 44).
Yah was identified with the Aramaic Thunder-god, Adad. A coin from of the fourth century B.C. in southern Philisti (when the Jews were in subjection to the Persian kings) has the only known representation of the Hebrew Deity. The letters YHW were inscribed just above a bird which the god held on his arm. The most likely identification of the god Yah of Gaza is the Hebrew, Phoenician, and Aramaic Sun-god El or Elohim whom the Hebrews had long since identified with Yah (ibid., pp. 42-43).
The collection of ancient manuscripts found at the Jewish colony of Elephantine demonstrates the use of Canaanite religious terminology in conjunction with the name of Israel's GodYahu. Such compound names as Anath-Yahu, Anath-Bethel, Ishum-Bethel, and Herem-Bethel are found there. These names all represent the attempt to combine differing philosophies and religious beliefs that were prevalent in the centuries following the Israelite conquest of Canaan. For example, Anath was the ancient Canaanite goddess, the sister of Baal (Bruce, p. 53), and Baal was one of the ancient names for Nimrod (Hislop, p. 232).
It was from the divine name Yah that the Greeks took 'Ie' in the invocations of the gods, especially the god Apollo. The name 'Ie' was written from right to left and inscribed over the great door of the temple of Apollo at Delphi (Taylor, p. 183). Iao, a variant of the Tetragrammaton, was applied to the Graeco-Egyptian god Harpocrates or Horus. Horus was called Harpocrates by the Greeks. The ancient Greeks had an acclamation similar to Hallelujah (Praise you Yah). They used Hallulujee in the beginning and ending of their hymns in honor of Apollo (Taylor, p. 183).
THE CORRUPTION OF GOD'S NAME
From the earliest times, it was the habit of the heathen nations to apply the appellations 'Savior', 'Redeemer', and 'Physicians of souls' to their gods, demigods, and heroes. The appellation 'Our Savior' was the usual designation of the god Aesculapius as well as Bacchus, Jupiter, and Hercules. 'Son of God' and 'Savior of the world' were expressions with which the heathen were quite familiar. Mercury was distinguished in the pagan world by the title of 'Logos' or 'The Word' (Taylor, pp. 8,153,156,183). Taylor is correct in his observation that the heathen used such appellations, but he is incorrect in his assumption that the Christians copied these expressions from the heathen. The Bible reveals that it was the other way around.
Orpheus, the earliest poet in Greek legend, states that Bacchus was a lawgiver. He calls him 'Moses' and says he was the one who gave the two tables of law. In all the ancient forms of invocation to the Supreme Being similar expressions are found such as 'Io Terombe', 'Io Baccoth', 'Hehovah Evan', 'Hevoe', 'Eloah', and 'Io Nissi'. It was from Nissi ('my banner'one of the names of JHWH was JHWH-Nissi) that the Greeks formed Dionysius (Taylor, pp. 188-189). Taylor admits that the heathen took the names of the true God and applied them to their deities.
Much of the confusion regarding the appropriation of names has been generated by writers such as Robert Taylor who, in recognizing the absorption of paganism into what is called Christianity today, assumes the Hebrews did the same thing in the development of their religion. But history and the Bible demonstrate the opposite. It was the heathen, during the Old Testament period, who absorbed the names of the true God into their paganism. That the name Zeus is a corruption of one of the names of the true God, which is seen in the Aramaean account of the Flood. When Deucalion (Noah) entered the Ark with his wife and family, all the beasts came to him in couples because Zeus (Adad) had ordered it (The Mythology of All Races, Vol. 5).
Informed Bible students are aware that both the names of the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jove are derived from the Hebrew YHWH. As Paul states, "The heathen did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Rom.1:28) and they applied the names of God to their idols.
THE HISTORICAL RECORD
History shows that the followers of the Savior were referred to as Nazarenes by Tertullus the orator (Acts 24:1-5) and many others of his time. The Romans called them Christians or followers of Christos. If the elect of the early church were called by any name associated with the terms followers of or assemblies of Yahshua, Yah, Yahweh, Yahowah or any of the other supposed names of the Savior and the Father, why isn't there any historical evidence to this usage in reference to the early church? Two excellent works that have many references to the early church's name are the two books on the Sabbath by Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday and Divine Rest for Human Restlessness.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, (Vol. XIII, p. 657, 1903 edition), the Jews:
"Fancied that the real name of the founder of the new religion must be Christus or 'Excellent', and they constantly spoke of the Christians as 'Chrestians'. . . 'If you call us Christians', said Tertullian, 'You bear to the name of our Master; if you call us Christians you testify to the blamelessness of our live'."
The historian Josephus says,
"Now was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. He was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews, and many Gentiles. He was (the) Christ." Josephus, 1849 edition, by E. Morgan and Co., p. 364.
The Roman historian Tacitus mentions Jesus specifically in his annals in explaining the word 'Christians':
"Christ from whom they derive their name, was condemned to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Emperor Tiberius." 1 Annals xv:44; written A.D. 115-117.
Christ who was the revelator of the Book of Revelation says, "I know your works: Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: For you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name" (Rev.3:8). The Sacred Names doctrine teaches that this scripture means that we must use the correct name for Christ or we will be denying it.
According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word 'name' in verse 8 is translated from the Greek word 'onoma', which literally or figuratively means a 'name', 'authority', or 'character'. The Greek language shows that the true intent of verse 8 compliments true Christians for not denying the authority and/or character of Christ.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There are many questions to be asked about the Bible and its teachings and the answers may vary greatly depending upon the source. If the questions are not related to one's salvation, the answers received won't really matter much. However, our Savior said: "Narrow is the way that leads to salvation and there be few that find it."
To some, the sacred name has become a magical sound that, when uttered, imparts some mystical presence with a supernatural power of its own. This is exactly the same kind of practice found in the occult, which uses incantations and chants to summon the power of evil spirits. Is there some power in the pronunciation of the name, and if so is that power really from the Mighty Ones?
THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF THE NAMES
Some people have confused the proclaiming of the Savior's name with the false belief that, with the use of his name, comes some inherent power or authority; however, a name is inanimate and has no intrinsic power or authority. A name is not the thing itself; it merely identifies the thing through symbols or sounds.
The disciples cast out demons and performed great supernatural work in the name of the Savior. However, they did all these works through the power and authority that is available through an authorized use of his name; the power was not in the phonetic sound of his name.
Even if a person were to know the correct name of the Savior and how to pronounce it correctly, they would not be guaranteed that they would be able to perform supernatural works or obtain salvation through this ability. There is no magic in the name itself; the power to perform supernatural works and obtain salvation comes through an authorization to use the Savior's name to access and use spiritual power and to communicate with God the Father.
Jesus says that many would perform supernatural works in his name, which is what many have done and are still doing. However, it does not mean that Jesus has sent or authorized the people who do these works. Each individual whom the Father has called to salvation during this age of the church is warned to test the spirits (1.Jn.4:1) to determine for themselves if the source of the teaching or supernatural works is good or evil:
"Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work lawlessness" (Matt.7:21-23 KJV). See also Mk.3:5-6; Lk.21:8.
THE MAGICAL POWER OF THE NAME
To say that Sacred Names advocates are obsessed with the necessity of using the 'Name' would be an understatement. The following statements are taken from the The Sacred Name is it Sacred or Mystical? (Church of God, The Eternal p.30-31).
"Before this you have seen nothing compared to what you will see in the days ahead in the lives of true saints who witness in the name of Yahshua. Now is the time for you to begin to know and use and understand the Sacred Name . . .Great and wonderful things are promised to the believers who are 'in' the Name of Yahshua . . .A blessing is pronounced upon those who think on his name . . .It is by this means that victory over Satan can be gained. There is only one Name given whereby the human race can be saved. That name is exclusive, holding salvation within itself . . .No other name holds the quality of everlasting life within itself. To trust in another name will not save you. In order to be saved you will have to be in the body of the Messiah bearing the name 'Assemblies of Yahweh' . . .While the charge is hurled against us that we ascribe some kind of mystical or magical power to the Sacred Name, this is not the case. There is no magic to be found in any name. However, Semitic culture has always understood the importance of a Person's name, that in some way the one who pronounced it has a special avenue of communication with the individual spoken to."
Although Sacred Names advocates state that there is no magic to be found in the name, they also contradict themselves by stating that there is a special power given by using the sacred name.
AN ATTEMPT TO USE DIVINE POWER
"In an attempt to use divine power, magicians used various biblical names and titles of God in their incantations. These included El, Elohim, Eloah, Adonai, Sabaoth, and Shaddai. But the one name which came closer to the inner reality of the God of the Old Testament was the Tetragrammaton, the YHWH. It was held in such profound awe that it was rarely pronounced for fear of profaning it and possibly for fear of the magic of enemies if they should discover its pronunciation. This belief led to a theological problem. If God could be coerced by the use of his name, then he was not omnipotent. Therefore, a magical explanation was advanced to solve the problem. The invocation of God's name does not oblige him to do the will of the one who invokes his name, and he cannot be coerced by the recital of his name. Rather, the 'name' itself is invested with the power to fulfill the desire of the man who pronounces it." Cavendish, article 'Names'.
"The Tetragrammaton was considered to be connected with awesome mysteries. The 'wonder-workers' of the Middle Ages, and later times, were believed to have known how to pronounce the Tetragrammaton. Such a wonder-worker was called a 'Baal Shem' meaning master of the name." The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia; Vol. 10, article 'Tetragrammaton'.
"In the Cabala, the creation of the universe was regarded as the unfolding of God's name and the ten Sefiroth, being aspects of God's identity, constitute the sacred name of God. The letters of the Hebrew alphabet, used in various combinations and changes, came to be regarded as extremely powerful objects of meditation and magical toolstools through which the universe was created and which contained the secret of the structure of all things. Thus, the object of Jewish mystical contemplation was the name of God which reflects the hidden meaning and totality of existence. It is the name of God through which everything acquires its meaning. Who, therefore, can succeed in making this great name of God, which is the least concrete and perceptible thing in the world, the object of his meditation is on the way to true mystical ecstasy." Cavendish, 'Names'.
NAMES AND SPECIAL SOUNDS
"The idea common to all magic is that words, names, and sounds have special powers and this applies particularly to names of gods, angels, and demons. To know the name and how to pronounce it and use it made it possible to utilize its power. It is an ancient widespread belief that a secret name can have power over everything in the universe. This belief is especially held by the Jews, and the names of God are frequently used in the practice of magic. This is why the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is so important. The correct pronunciation is absolutely essential for the working of magic." The SupernaturalMagic, Words, and Numbers, Editorial Consultants: Colin Wilson and Uri Geller, p. 68.
"The Talmud makes no bones about the magic of the names of God. According to it, the divine names of God were used to perform miracles by those who knew their combinations." The Jewish Encyclopedia, article, 'Names of God'.
In the 11th century A.D., the Jewish scholar, Hai Gaon, claimed that the use of God's name should be restricted to the Holy Land (The Jewish Encyclopedia, article, 'Shem ha-Meforash'). Physicians even tried to learn the pronunciation of the name of God, because of its marvelous powers, and it is in conjunction with magic that the YHWH was introduced into the magic papyri (ibid., article, 'Tetragrammaton').
According to Eliphaz Levi, the YHWH is the key to divine power and all magical science is comprised in the knowledge of this sacred name (Transcendental Magic, by Eliphaz Levi, pp. 17,55).
"In sorcery, the magic circle is a must and the names of Hebrew divinities were often inscribed within the magic circle including the Tetragrammaton." Witchcraft, Magic, and Alchemy, by Grillot De Givry, p. 104.
"When the 'Name' was worn by the person, it was regarded as an amulet for the purpose of protecting against danger, sickness, and evil spirits." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, p. 204.
"The supreme magician, Henry Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535), believed that the name 'Jesus' was all powerful and contained all the power of the Tetragrammaton. Cornelius Agrippa advocated the idea that he had drawn close to the Creator Himself and knew how to call upon the names of God. As Yates notes, this occult religion of Agrippa, which called itself Christian, claimed access to the highest power because it accepted the name of Jesus as the chief of the wonder-working names" (Yates, pp. 37,46).
"It was the interest in the Cabala during the Middle Ages that supplied the mystical formulas found in the occult, and the divine names were introduced into the ceremonies of magic and sorcery. Astrological talismans were coupled with Bible verses, Hebrew divine names, and various formulas borrowed from the Cabala." De Givry, pp. 206,339-340.
"One of the peculiarities of the modern tongues movement is the belief in the value of words. . . there was an ancient widespread belief that certain words and phrases contained magical power. Of these words, the best known was the Tetragrammaton. Among the Gentiles the reverence for words was displayed in oracles and ritualistic incantations." (Glossolalia in the Apostolic Church, by Ira J. Martin, pp. 22-23).
One of the major characteristics of those involved in the movement of Speaking in Tongues (i.e., speaking in unintelligible languages in an attempt to worship God) is the concept of the importance and value of words, which shows that there is a historical link between the Tongues movement and the Sacred Names movement.
Occult attachment to the Sacred Names movement is seen by comments that say there is a blessing pronounced upon those who think on his name. Sacred Names advocates say that, although the name often stands for the person, the name helps them to understand the person. Moreover, they say that meditation on the sacred name is one of the ways by which believers in the deity can come to know the deity better and define and understand their own position better.
Just because a person states something as fact does not make it so. This simple truth is often forgotten by those who are trying to support a theory or position of religious doctrine.
MANY TO COME IN HIS NAME
Jesus says that many will come in his name (i.e., using his name) and deceive many (Matt.24:4-5). The Savior came in his Father's name, not his own (Jn.5:43). There are over 20,000 various church organizations that call themselves 'Christian', and they all differ from each other in their doctrine.
Many think they are doing the will of God because of works and physical manifestations of supernatural power. However, the scriptures say that, if one does not keep the laws of God, everything else they do is in vain (Matt.7:21-23; 15:9). The devil has deceived most professing Christians into thinking God's law has been done away with and is not to be kept by the followers of Christ. But, Jesus says that, if a person is lawless, they will not be in the Kingdom of God.
IS THERE SALVATION THROUGH THE USE OF A NAME?
According to the 'The Assembly of Yahowah the Eternal', one can only gain salvation through the pronunciation of a name:
"Do you know that without the true personal name of the Family of heaven, Yahowah and Yaho-Hoshu-wah, you cannot receive the forgiveness for your sins? That's how serious it is. If you are still calling upon and using the false substituted names and titlesGod, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Iesous, Iesus, Christos, Yahweh, Yahveh, Yahshua, Yeshua, Yahvehshua, and Jehovahyou do not have salvation and your sins have not been forgiven." Bishop Gordon Kieth Pearce.
Each Sacred Name group states that there is only one pronunciation of the Saviors name by which one can be saved. If in fact this is the case, we must indeed pronounce this name exactly and with impeccable precision, not missing a single intonation or decibel of intensity. If their statements are correct, we must search out and vocalize these names precisely or lose out on salvation. Of course, this may be an impossible task, because time, chance, and human error enter the picture as we search for this supposed auditory elixir of eternal life.
According to The Jewish Encyclopedia:
"The correct pronunciation of the JHWH was known by members of the Babylonian Academy as late as 1000 A.D. It is believed the name is derived from the Hebrew verb 'to be' (havah). It is for this reason some Sacred Names advocates insist the pronunciation of the JHWH should be Yahvah. Many Sacred Names people are troubled over the various forms of the Sacred Name, but the majority have chosen Yahweh and in faith believe this is the name because scholars predominantly agree in this choice. So, until a better form is learned from the Hebrew grammar and Hebrew authorities, most will continue teaching the Sacred Name as Yahweh".
"One fact is certain, sacred name advocates are not in agreement themselves as to the correct pronunciation of the Name. Some contend for Yahweh, others for Yahveh or for Yahvah or for Yaheveh. None of the selected forms such as Jehovah, Yehovah, Yahweh, Yahveh, Yahwe, Yahvah, Yahaveh, and Yahaweh are really demonstrated to be on a sound basis. What is significant is that the YHWH has no true vowel points in modern Hebrew. Its vowel points are those of Adonai.
"The much quoted statement from the Encyclopedia Judaica, that the pronunciation of the YHWH was never lost is predicated upon the idea that a few of the early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify to a pronunciation very nearly like Yahweh. What Sacred Names writers fail to mention, with respect to the statement in the Encyclopedia Judaica, is that the preservation of the proper pronunciation of the YHWH is limited to the first syllable, Yah, only" (Volume 12, page 118). See also Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 1, article 'God, Names of.'
Can anyone prove beyond a doubt what the correct spelling and pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is? All of those who try to do so are forced to go to human sources for verification. But, there is no agreement in this search. The best that can be said is that the various forms used today for the Tetragrammaton are educated guesses. Yahweh may be more nearly correct, but is this good enough?
The various derivations and pronunciations of the Tetragrammaton are still in doubt. What is now generally assumed is that the YHWH is the causative form of the verb 'to be' and should be pronounced Yahweh or Yahveh. See Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, article, 'Tetragrammaton'.
YAHWEH IS NOT A HEBREW NAME
In The Law and the Prophets, there is some information that destroys any linguistic or historical credibility for the Sacred Names doctrine:
"This explanation was first advanced by Jewish writers in the Middle Ages and has found wide acceptance now. The serious objection to this explanation is that the verb 'to be' has no causative stem in the Hebrew. So, in order to express this idea it is necessary to employ a different verb. In Exodus 3:14 the assumption is drawn that Yahweh is derived from the verb 'to be'. But the verb 'to be' in the Hebrew is 'hayah', not 'hawah'. 'Hawah' belongs to an earlier era of the language. In the historical sense, then, YAHWEH is not a Hebrew name.
"The curious fact is that the ancient pronunciation of the YHWH has been totally lost. The Dead Sea scrolls did not solve the problem, but merely demonstrated that the ban was in effect two hundred years before the time of Christ. The form Yahweh is thus an incorrect hybrid with an early 'w' and a late 'eh'. The indication, though, is that often the inspired writers of the Old Testament were not interested in etymology. Rather, they wanted to draw attention to the similarity of sound, that is, to use the pun and write a word descriptive of the event. Therefore, it is quite likely that the interpretation of the Name in Exodus 3:14 may not be etymological at all.
"What should be obvious in all this is that the pronunciation of the YHWH is an academic matter and the God of Israel is more interested in our personal relationship to Him rather than the pronunciation of his name. In fact, from the evidence now available, it may be argued that Yahweh is incorrect and Jahoweh might be the true pronunciation" (pp. 215-224, edited by John H. Skilton, Milton C. Fisher, and Leslie W. Sloat).
ALMOST CORRECT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
"One thing is certain: critical speculation about the origin and meaning of the name YHWH seems endless" (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 1, pp. 210-212, edited by R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke).
If the Sacred Names doctrine is correct, pronouncing the name as closely as possible is not good enough. Either one has salvation, or one does not.
If the exact pronunciation of God's name were important to him, there would be no problem finding out what it is. In fact, the exact phonetic pitch, decibel range, intensity, and cycles per second would be clearly and distinctly recorded for us to mimic in order to obtain salvation.
COMMUNICATION WITH GOD
One Sacred Names group claims that, in order to worship the Supreme Sovereign, we have to know his name and if the name is not known, there is no hope of ever worshiping him. However, there is no scripture that says we must know God's name in order to worship him.
One Sacred Names group asks:
"Have you offered pure worship to him by calling upon his name, just as did the ancient patriarchs. Are you sure that you're in communication with the true Almighty Heavenly Father today?"
MUST WE KNOW THE FATHER'S NAME IN ORDER TO WORSHIP HIM?
If the phonetic sound of God the Father's name were extremely important to him, it would also be important to his Son who is our Savior. But was this phonetic sound important to our Savior when he taught his Father's way to salvation?
In Mark 15:34-35, just before his death:
"Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calls Elias."
These verses in Mark show the prophetic fulfillment of Psalm 22:1-2:
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent."
Even the Lamsa Bible, which is supposedly translated from an original Hebrew text, quotes Mark 15:34: "Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani." If one must use only the proper phonetic sound of the proper name when addressing the Supreme Sovereign of all that exists, our Savior used the wrong name during the most critical moment of his life. These words, 'Eli, Eli, shabakthani,' are not Hebrew, but are of Chaldean derivation.
On numerous occasions, Jesus spoke directly to the Supreme Sovereign God using the term 'Father' as his name. This same intimate title is to be used by all those who are the children of God the Father.
THE ONLY NAME IN WHICH THERE IS SALVATION
The Sacred Names advocates base their entire doctrine on Acts 4:10-12, which they claim is proof that there is only one name by which one can be saved. If this is true, we should indeed pronounce this name correctly. However, Acts 4:10-12 does not prove this.
"Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him does this man stand before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (See also Psa.54:1).
In verse 10, the English word 'by', in the phrase 'by the name of ', is translated from the Greek word 'oloma', which can mean 'in the power of.'
A further study of this verse shows that the phrase 'in the name of ' means 'in the authority of ', and it makes much more sense than ascribing some mystical power to a name or a phonetic sound.
There is no question that verse 11 clearly states that there is no salvation in any other spirit-being than Jesus the Christ, but how do we reconcile this with what the psalmist David said about asking to be saved by the Creator God?
"Save me, O God, by your name, and judge me by your strength" (Psa.54:1). How could the psalmist David be saved by God's name? Acts 4:11 says that the name of our Savior is the only name by which we can be saved. The logical answer is that the same spirit-being is being spoken of, but from a different reference point in time.
"He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned" (Mk.16:16 KJV).
Here, those who are saved are those who believe, repent, and are baptized. Where does a sacred name fit into this method of salvation? Nowhere does the Bible support the use of the Tetragrammaton as a prerequisite to salvation. Scriptures that Sacred Names advocates advance to support this idea are either forced or given a private interpretation.
Isaiah 9:6 foretold that the Messiah would be called, 'Pele,' 'Yatts,' 'Gibbor,' 'Ad', and 'Sar.' Later Isaiah was inspired to say that he would be called 'Immanuel' (Isa.8:8-10; 17:14). Just before Christ's conception, an angel was sent to say his name would be 'Jesus' and 'Emmanuel'. None of these scriptures support the theory that the Savior had only one name by which he was to be called. Actually, they show just the opposite. They show that he has many names, because his greatness cannot be communicated by only one name.
THE ONLY SAVIOR
Once we understand that the Sovereign God of ancient Israel is the God who became the Messiah, it is easy to reconcile the following scriptures, which state that his is the only name by which there is salvation.
"I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior" (Isa.43:11 KJV). In Isaiah 44:24, the Creator says that he is the Redeemer. And in Isaiah 60:16 he says, he is the Savior and Redeemer.
"Tell you, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who have declared this from ancient time? who have told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just god and a savior; there is none beside me" (Isa.45:21 KJV).
"Yet I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt, and you shall know no god but me: for there is no savior beside me" (Hos.13:4 KJV).
A Samaritan woman said to Christ:
"I know that Messias comes, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I that speak to you am he . . . Now we believe, not because of your saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (Jn.4:25-26,42 KJV).
The Book of Luke contains a statement, which verifies that the God of ancient Israel is the Savior:
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people" (Lk.1:68).
"For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe" (1.Tim.4:10 KJV).
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 KJV).
It is true that there is only salvation through the Messiah. However, salvation is not given because of his name; it is given because of what he did for us. This is why the patriarchsNoah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and otherswill have salvation along with all who remain in Christ. If salvation was tied to the phonetic sound of the name, these people would not be able to attain salvation. All of them would be lost. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the power and authority of the God family that one can be saved, not through the phonetic sound of a name.
The reason that there is not salvation in any other name (authority) is that the God who came to earth fulfilled the supreme sacrifice; he gave his life for us. Thereby, he made an eternal atonement for our sins. Jesus is the only name (authority) under heaven by which we can be saved. Because Jesus was the Creator God through which Israel could attain salvation, it makes sense that he is still the only name (authority) through which all people can be saved. For more details about the importance of the sacrifice of the Creator God, see our studies about the true gospel, the various covenants, and the sacred observance and convocations.
SALVATION BY WORKS OR BY GRACE?
Forgiveness of sin is not an act of man, it is an act of God. A name cannot save us. It is the Savior who saves us. It is the result of his action, not ours. Salvation does not come to humans by the act of pronouncing a name or making a phonetic sound. If knowing and using the Savior's name could get us salvation, it would come by the works of people, not by the grace of God through the sacrifice of the Savior. From Sacred Names literature, it is apparent that they believe salvation for them is gained by works (i.e., the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton); it is the result of what they do, not what God is doing through the Savior. This assumption shows a lack of faith in the grace of God the Father and the power of his Son's sacrifice, which allows us to gain salvation without works.
The whole point of Acts 4:10-12 is not that a name saves anyone. The point is that salvation can only be obtained through the sacrifice, authority, and office of the Savior.
HISTORY OF THE SACRED NAMES DOCTRINE
Today's Sacred Names doctrine seems to have its roots in the mid 1930's with two elders, Andrew Dugger and C.O. Dodd, who were rivals and contenders for power within the Church of God in the United States. When it became apparent to Dodd that Dugger was leading in this power struggle, Dodd found a new and exciting cause to champion in order to create a following for himself. This new cause was the 'Hebrew Name Doctrine', which a few small groups have accepted, modified, added to, and tried to validate to this very day. And the controversy continues among these various groups as to which is the real personal name that one should use to gain salvation.
LITTLE OR NO AGREEMENT
There is little or no agreement among the various Sacred Names groups as to the correct symbolic and phonetic representation of the tetragrammaton. However, they do all seem to agree that recognition and pronunciation of the name are matters of life and death to someone who is seeking salvation. Moreover, they also seem to agree that the name must be recognized in its original form and uttered with impeccable precision or one cannot obtain salvation.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Almost all Sacred Names groups rely on and quote extensively from Bible dictionaries, commentaries, historians, encyclopedias, concordances, and other Bible helps for their major sources of proof. The problem with this approach is that these sources very seldom agree on any of the points that are used as proof. How do the various Sacred Names groups know who is right when even the scholars who wrote these materials from which they quote cannot agree among themselves as to the names of the Supreme spirit-beings in question. It also seems a bit incongruous that the Sacred Names groups would place so much faith in those who, according to their belief, are lost and without salvation.
When one looks into the issue of the names and pronunciation of the names in the Bible, it becomes obvious that this subject is extremely technical and controversial and is not a subject for a novice to tackle with little study and preparation. As a result of the difficulty of the subject, the Sacred Names groups' arguments, prey on the ignorance of those who are not well versed in Bible study and research.
Why would anyone place their eternal salvation in the hands of a group of people who cannot prove their belief? The Bible tells us to place our faith in no man, but to work out our own salvation in fear and trembling (Phil.2:12). If a person cannot prove a point of salvation to himself, his faith is weak and perhaps not valid. The scripture says to:
"Prove [test] all things; hold fast to the things that are good" (1.Thes.5:21 KJV).
THE BASIC COMMANDMENTS
"And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain" (Ex.20:1-7; Deut.5:7-11).
The first commandment states that one must worship Godnot his name, his description, or even his title. There is no indication whatsoever that one should worship his name. The name has no substance or relevance other than descriptive terminology.
Idol worship is defined throughout the Bible as any doctrine, person, place or thing that a person obeys, worships or holds in reverence above the God Family. An idol can even be something that God has created for his people's benefit. Anything can become an idol to a person if that thing is looked to as equal to, or more important than the God that caused or allowed it to come into existence.
There are many who profess the Christian faith, but believe and practice idol worship. However, few of these people will state that idol worship is acceptable to God. This study has shown that the Sacred Names doctrine of recognizing, worshiping, and serving a name is nothing more than pure and unadulterated idolatry. However, as with all false doctrine, the primary source is always Satanic.
For those who wish to make a further detailed scripture-by-scripture study into this subject, we recommend that you get a copy of The Sacred Name Is It Sacred Or Mystical?, the Church of God, The Eternal P.O. Box 775 Eugene, Oregon, 97440.
CONTROVERSIAL OR NEW DOCTRINES
In reference to controversial or new doctrines, the apostle Paul had some very good advice for any Christian who takes their salvation seriously:
"Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study [i.e., be diligent] to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun vain babbling; for they will increase to more ungodliness" (2.Tim.2:14-16 KJV).
To the Thessalonians Paul writes:
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (2.Thes.5:21).
CRY ALOUD AND SPARE NOT AND SHOW MY PEOPLE THEIR SINS
The Sacred Names doctrine brings people to the brink of idolatry and some cross over the line and worship a name instead of God because of a lack of knowledge:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children" (Hos.4:6 KJV).
One of these laws that Hosea speaks about has to do with idolatry. The punishment for worshiping an idol is death, no matter what the idol is: a physical thing, a philosophy, or a name.
The important issues to be dealt with in the Sacred Names doctrine are not the exact recognition and pronunciation of the names of God the Father and Jesus Christ. The real issues here are idolatry and salvation. Once these two issues are put to rest, the whole matter of how to recognize and pronounce the names of the Sovereign Family becomes insignificant by comparison.
Many have crossed the boundary between the worship of God the Father and serving Jesus Christ and the worship of their names. This kind of worship is idolatry as defined in the Bible (Ex.20:1-5; Deut.5:6-9). There is a fine line between reverence and respect for a name that symbolizes power and authority, and the step into idolatry. It appears that some people have crossed this line and, if it is not repented of, they are in danger of losing the salvation that they seek to gain by worshiping a name.
The Bible maintains that mankind must worship and serve God the Father and his Son, because both are worthy. Nowhere does the Bible show that we must worship and serve a name. Moreover, to do so is to worship and serve an idol.
LOOKING AT THE OBVIOUS
What should be obvious to the reader is that, the arguments advanced by Sacred Names advocates to support the notion that Yahweh is the exclusive name that must be used in order to gain salvation cannot be substantiated. Moreover, there is no valid historical or biblical tradition that verifies the proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton.
SUMMARY AND WARNING
The Sacred Names doctrine is just another satanic deception that leads to a very subtle form of idolatry and clouds the truth of the Bible. Moreover, it captures and draws away those who are not well-grounded in truth and faith:
"As also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction" (2.Pet.3:16 KJV).
A SERIOUS WARNING
If you believe you have discovered the correct pronunciation of the personal name of the Sovereign Family in heaven and you want to use this name instead of other descriptive words for them in your particular language, there is no conflict with God's word. However, you must not worship or serve the name; worship and honor God the Father and his Son who is the Savior of humanity. To do otherwise is idolatry, which requires the administration of the death penalty to those who practice it:
"Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour" (1.Pet.5:8 KJV).
By B.L. Cocherell, file b4w18