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Our Father’s Name

יְהֹוָה

This is the Hebrew name of our Heavenly Father?   

It appears some 6,828 times in the Hebrew scriptures.

(see note below).

This First Covenant name of our Father has four specific Hebrew letters.

Reading from right to left (which is the way you read Hebrew) the letters are

 י    Pronounced yode, or yod; 

ה   Pronounced as hey;    

ן     Pronounced as vav;   

 ה   Pronounced as hey

THE UNPRONOUNCEABLE NAME 

For centuries, whenever the Jews came across these four letters they would say, Adonai, or Ha Shem (meaning the name).  They did that then and do that now because they refuse to pronounce the name of God.  Let’s take a quick look at an ancient tradition which sheds a bit of light on why the Jews do not pronounce this name.

AN ANCIENT TRADITION

In early second century times (after Yeshua), Rabbis decided to hide the pronunciation of the holy name of God.  They did this by omitting the vowel pointings, which are necessary to make the name pronounceable.  Hence, as they carefully wrote the scriptures, their omittance of the vowel pointings made the name unpronounceable.  But why?

Historians believe there were two major reasons:

  1. According to Josephus, an ancient historian, the nation of Rome, under the rule of Domitian, 81 to 96 CE, put to death anyone using the name of the Jewish or Christian God.
  2. Many believe then, that to save lives, the Rabbis borrowed a tradition from pagans, whereby the name of their god was considered too holy to mention, so they called him “Ba-al” meaning Lord.

The Jews adopted this practice in ancient times, even even now, long after the death threats of using that name vanished, most Jews the world over, even some Messianic Jews, continue the tradition to not say the name of God.

CHRISTIANITY ADOPTS THE PRACTICE

Christian Bible translators followed the Jewish tradition.  You can see that in your Bible, for wherever the name יְהֹוָה appeared, they inserted the letters, LORD (all capitals).  Many scholars think they did this because they pronunciation of the name was not available due to its lack of use.  Therefore, Christians,  instead of saying, Ha Shem (the name) or Adonai (Lord), they inserted  simply LORD.

SHOULD WE STILL PRACTICE THAT TRADITION?

To answer that question, let ask another one:

Does that tradition of not saying God’s Name offend the Heavenly Father?

If, indeed, its origin was a part of Ba-al worship, then a resounding Amen would be in order!  However, for a better answer, let us see what scripture says regarding the subject of reverentially using God’s name.  Here are two passages in scripture, among many:

Isaiah 25:1  O LORD, (YeHoVaH) You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your Name; for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.  

Ezekiel 39:7 “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am YeHoVaH, the Holy One in Israel.” 

Here, we see that:

  1. It is a good thing to praise the name of God.
  2. God desires His name be known by the people of Israel and the heathen (Gentiles).

How can this happen if God’s people substitute His name with “LORD”, or something else?  Obviously, to make God’s name known, it must be spoken, written, sung and the like.  First, however, we must know how to properly pronounce it!

A MODERN HISTORIC DISCOVERY

Today, some Hebrew scholars determined to search the world over and collect ancient Hebrew writings.  In doing so, they discovered many Hebrew records which contain the full name of YeHoVaH, including the vowel points showing the name as pronounceable.   According to the Hebrew Scholars, it is pronounced:

Ya Ho Vaah’ (Accent on the last syllable of the Word)

However, to honour the Hebrew derivative we write is as YeHoVaH (or some YHVH)

These scholars on the subject, among them a man named, Nehemiah Gordon  (see information below), with God’s help, reach out to make the name of YeHoVaH known today.

BREAKING WITH TRADITION:

Some Jews, some Messianic believers among them, as well as some Christians decided to break with tradition and declare the name of our Heavenly Father, YeHoVaH.   We at Cegullah Publishing and Apologetics Academy made a similar choice.   We decided that since God put us in the generation of those who know the pronunciation of this name, YeHoVaH, we should use it!  Thus, we take every opportunity to  use and proclaim the name of our Heavenly Father.  To do so, we use the name YeHoVaH in place of the word LORD when we use the scriptures in all of our teachings and manuscripts.  Also, we say His Name, YeHoVaH as well as the Jewish Name of our Saviour, Yeshua.

Whether you decide to study with us or not, we ask you to consider joining us by taking The Name Challenge and do the same!

 

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Nehemiah Gordon, is a Karite Jew and a Hebrew scholar, who has written much on the pronunciation of the name of the Father.   According to Nehemiah’s testimony, he found the Hebrew name of the Father with all vowel pointings in the Aleppo Codex, thus making the name pronounceable.    Since that discovery, Nehemiah and  other scholars further discovered that name with vowels pointings in over 2000 manuscripts and are such of its pronunciation.   Nehemiah has a blog called Nehemiah’s wall, and if you search the web, you will find many books by Nehemiah.  These will verify the teaching in this article and give you a lot of interesting facts, as well.