Tag Archives: Hebrew

The meaning, the Character and Pronunciation of Almighty God’s Name YHVH

In one of the previous studies I presented to you, the evidence that the name of our Father, the Creator of Heaven & Earth, was clearly communicated to us through His Word ; and that this name appears throughout the Scriptures (more than 6000 times) even though it has been changed to LORD in our English translations. Wherever you come across the word “LORD” printed in CAPITAL letters in your English bibles, it is an instance where God’s name is expressly mentioned. (For a better understanding, please read the first part of this study)

Wherever you see “LORD” in the English translations, the Original Hebrew Manuscripts read “יהוה“ ; or the equivalent in English, which is “YHWH” or “YHVH”. But how do you read “YHVH”? or better yet, pronounce it? The earliest Hebrew manuscripts did not have a vowel system. The readers of that day knew exactly how to pronounce each of the words without having vowels. Today, “YHVH” also known as the “Tetragrammaton” (A fancy word which means “four letters” in Greek) is considered by some, to be too holy to utter, and unpronounceable by others.

In this study, I will attempt in helping you understand the meaning of God’s Holy Name and provide you with the clearest evidence at hand for pronouncing this Eternal Name.

The below study is broken down into 5 parts

  1. Names that have meaning
  2. The Meaning of God’s Name & His Divine Character
  3. Does God really have a name? and is it really YHVH?
  4. Pronouncing the name YHVH
  5. The facts behind my belief of YHVH being pronounced as Yehovah
  6. Conclusion


1. Names that have meaning

In my culture, when most parents name their kids, they look at the first letter of their own names and use that letter to come up with a name for their newborn. For Example, if the parent’s name is Roger, the child will be named with a name that starts with the letter R, such as Richard. This was not the case in Biblical times. In the Old Testament & the New, we see parents naming their kids according to what the child represented, or what they wanted the child to represent. The name stood as a witness to the persons character. In fact, their is hardly any name that did not have any meaning, in the Old Testament.

For Example,
Gen 3:20
  And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. (H2332 – חוּה – chavvâh – Lifegiver)
Gen 17:5  but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. (H85 – אברהם – ‘abrâhâm – Father of a multitude)
Gen 25:26  And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: (H3290 – יעקב – ya‛ăqôb – Heel Catcher)
Gen 29:35  And she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing. (H3063 – יהוּדה – yehûdâh – Praise/Celebrate)
Exo 2:10  And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
(H4872 – משׁה – môsheh – Drawing out)
Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (H3091- יהושׁע – yehôshûa‛ – Yehovah Saves)


2. The Meaning of God’s Name & His Divine Character

Just as people in the Scriptures, indicated the meaning of a name or character of the person, alongside the given name (as shown in the examples above), God also indicated the meaning of His name to Moses in much of the same fashion.

Exo 3:13-15 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Moses asked God a legitimate question in the above verse. “When the people ask me who sent me, what shall I say Your name is?” To which God answered with “His character” or “Meaning of His name“,I AM THAT I AM. But He did not stop there. He then went onto say, You shall tell the people YHVH (LORD in English Capital Letters have been substituted wherever “יהוה“ [YHVH] is written in the Original Manuscripts) God of your Fathers, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob has sent me to you.

The meaning of  YHVH – I was that I was, I am that I am, I will be that I will be
Just as Eve means Lifegiver, Abraham means Father of Multitude, Jacob means Heel catcher, Judah means Praise, Moses means Drawn out, Yeshua(Jesus’ real name) means YHVH Saves, the meaning of YHVH is in the statement “I AM THAT I AM” or at least the Hebrew words which are היה(I AM) אשׁר(THAT) היה(I AM).

H1961 – היה – hâyâh – Read explanation given below
H834 – אשׁר – ‘ăsher – Translated as “that”, “which” or “whom” most of the time
H1961 – היה – hâyâh – Read explanation given below

H1961 – היה – is sometimes translated as I Was or He Was (Examples given below)
Hos 11:4  I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
Isa 63:8  For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.

H1961 – היה – is sometimes translated as I Am or He is (Examples given below)
Jer 31:9  They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Isa 55:6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

H1961 – היה – is sometimes translated as I Will be or He Will be (Examples given below)
Hos 14:5  I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
Isa 8:14  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

This shows that the statement made by God in Exo 3:14 היה(hâyâh) אשׁר(‘ăsher) היה(hâyâh) could mean “I was” that “I was”, “I am” that “I am”, “I will be” that “I will be” all at the same time. He was saying that He is the Eternal One. And that His Name “YHVH” encapsulated this character of being the beginning and the end.


3. Does God really have a name? and is it really YHVH?

There is no doubt that His Name is YHVH, as the Scriptures witness to this over and over again – A few examples are given below
Hos 12:5  the YHVH, the God of hosts, YHVH is his memorial name
Isa 42:8  I am YHVH; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Jer 16:21  “Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is YHVH.”
Eze 39:7  “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am YHVH, the Holy One in Israel.
Zec 13:9  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘YHVH is my God.’
Psa 135:13 Your name, O YHVH, endures forever, your renown, O YHVH, throughout all ages.
Psa 9:10  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O YHVH, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Micah 4:5 For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the YHVH our God forever and ever.


4. Pronouncing the name YHVH

Among those who understand the importance of His name, there are many theories on how to pronounce the name of our Almighty God, of which Yahweh, Yehovah, Yahuwah, Jehovah are some of the more famous ones.

With this being said, there is a need to explain why there are so many different opinions about this name amongst believers. Vowels were not used in ancient Hebrew, which the Scriptures were written in, and as such, when scribes at that time wrote God’s name on scrolls, they wrote the four Hebrew Letters,  Yodh – Hey – Vav – Hey (“יהוה“). At that time, as everyone knew how to pronounce God’s Holy name, this was not an issue. But somewhere down the line, after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70AD, pronouncing the name of God was banned. After this event, the pronunciation has been a well guarded secret handed down from Jewish Rabbi to disciple. Instead of addressing God by the name He wanted to be addressed by, the Jewish Rabbis started using titles such as Adonai (Lord), which was then passed down to the English Translators of the Old Testament (who learned Hebrew from these teachers). As a result, today, we do not know the pronunciation of the name nor have an English Translation that clearly communicates God’s name in print. This is the reason for so many, to have a hard time coming to terms with the idea of God Almighty, having a name.

When I first started to study into God’s Divine name, I believed that one of the prevalent pronunciations used by many Christians which were “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”, could be the correct pronunciation.

Jehovah actually appears in the KJV Bible in Exo 6:3, Psa 83:18, Isa 12:2 & Isa 26:4. “Jehovah” was a credible pronunciation other than the fact of the “J” sound, which is not part of the Hebrew Language. All of the Hebrew names we see in the New Testament which start with “J” actually start with a “Y” sound in the original form, which is Hebrew. (For Example, Judas – Yehudah / James – Yaakov / John – Yohanan / Jesus – Yeshua / Joseph – Yosef) So, if at all, the name should be pronounced “Yehovah” and not “Jehovah”. As I discovered, Yehovah became the most likely candidate, as it lined up with many facts that I found in my research.


5. The facts behind my belief of “YHVH” being pronounced as Yehovah

1.Composition of Hebrew Names
Compound names(Hebrew names that were made of two words) in the Old Testament which included YHVH as one of the words, always started with the pronunciation “Yeho” or ended with the pronunciation “Yahu”. The “Yeho”/”Yahu” part of those names stood as a short in form for God’s name. (I have provided a few names as examples below)

Yehoshua – Yeshayahu – YHVH Saves (Joshua – Exo 17:9 / Isaiah – 2Kin 19:2)
Yehochanan – Chananyahu – YHVH Favours (Johanan – 2Kin 25:23 / Hananiah – 1Chr 3:19)
Yehonatan – Netanyahu – YHVH Gives (Jonathan – Judg 18:30 / Nethaniah – 2Kin 25:23)
Yehozabad – Zabadyahu – YHVH Endures (Jehozabad – 2Kin 12:21/ Zebediah – 1Chr 8:15)

Hebrew names that praise or reveal a characteristic of YHVH always start with “Yeho”. This is a valid clue that the first part of “YHVH” would be pronounced “Yeho”. Hence the pronunciation “Yeho”vah.

2. The Leningrad Codex and the Aleppo Codex
After God’s name was banned from being pronounced around 140AD, the Scribes who copied the Old Testament left out vowels in the name, so that no one would mistakenly read it out. The 2 most oldest, most reliable and most complete Hebrew Manuscripts of the Old Testament to date, which are named “The Leningrad Codex” & “The Aleppo Codex” both contain God’s name with the full vowel set dozens of times, which helps us read YHVH as Yehovah. (The list of these instances is recorded in the book His Hallowed Name Revealed Again by Keith Johnson
alongside links where you can download the photographs of the original and check it for yourself, which I have done! Thank you Keith!)

3. Biblical Hebrew vowel systems
As I am not an expert in Biblical Hebrew, I present a paper done by Nehemia Gordon, who holds a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelors Degree in Archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has worked as a translator on the Dead Sea Scrolls and as a researcher deciphering ancient Hebrew manuscripts. This paper delves into the vowel systems of God’s name and concludes that the pronunciation should be Yehovah. You can read the paper here. Thank you Nehemia for sharing your knowledge with us!

4. The use of Iehovah in the KJV Bible printed in 1611
The KJV Bible, first published in 1611 carried God’s Name YHVH as Iehovah in 4 places, namely Exo 6:3, Psa 83:18, Isa 12:2 & Isa 26:4 (use the links to examine it for yourself). The KJV translators of 1611, would have wanted to transmit the correct name with pronunciation in the 4 places they allowed the name to be printed, as is. The KJV “Iehovah” & “Yehovah” are both identical in pronunciation. This is another clear reason, that the pronunciation “Yehovah” could be correct. As mentioned above, even the later versions of the KJV Bible use an anglicized version of “Yehovah”, which is “Jehovah”, even though the “J” sound clearly is an English invention.

5. The use of Iehouah in the Pentateuch(5 Books of Moses) printed in 1530 & in the “Great Bible”, which was the 1st complete English version of the 66 Books printed in 1540
One of the earliest versions of an English Translation of the Bible was done by William Tyndale in the year 1530. This translation which dates about 80 years before the 1611 King James Version records God’s Name as “Iehouah” in Exo 6:3 (use the link to examine it for yourself) which is identical to “Yehovah” in Pronounciation. The same can be said of the “Great Bible” printed in 1540. Just as in Tyndale’s Translation, the “Great Bible” also recorded God’s Name as “Iehouah” in Exo 6:3 (use the link to examine it for yourself).

6. Conclusion
Our Father in Heaven, has a name that he made known through Scripture which is “יהוה“ or “YHVH”. This name, like all other names in Scripture, has a meaning that shows the Character of God Almighty. The famous statement in Exo 3:14 which is translated as “I AM THAT I AM”, actually means “I was that I was, I am that I am, I will be that I will be” all at the same time. This shows God’s character of being the beginning and the end, and that He is Eternal, and is outside of the limitations of time. The name which He reveals to Moses in Exo 3:15, is none other than “יהוה“ or “YHVH” which is also known as the tetragrammaton. Among those who understand the importance of His name, there are many theories on how to pronounce the name of our Almighty God, of which Yahweh, Yehovah, Yahuwah, Jehovah are some of the more famous ones. With the information and evidence at hand, we can conclude that the pronunciation of this name should be done as “Yehovah”. Whichever way we decide to pronounce God’s Eternal Name, we must remember, that it is far better for us to know that He HAS a name, rather than being ignorant of this important fact.  

Recommended reading
His Hallowed Name Revealed Again by Keith Johnson
Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence by Nehemia Gordon

The Spring, the Stream, the Pool & the Puddle

The famous Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther once said “The Hebrew language is the best language of all … If I were younger I would want to learn this language, because no one can really understand the Scriptures without it. For although the New Testament is written in Greek, it is full of Hebraisms and Hebrew expressions. It has therefore been aptly said that the Hebrews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latins from a downstream pool.”
-Martin Luther, Table Talk, quoted in Pinchas E. Lapide, Hebrew in the Church, trans. Erroll F. Rhodes (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984).

In my studies of getting closer to the Hebrew Language, Hebraisms & Hebrew Expressions – in pursuit of understanding God Almighty and His Word, I have come across many people with varying opinions. Some see it as of no use. Some see it as attempting to become Jewish. And some even see it as a start of a new doctrine/teaching, when in fact learning Hebrew helps you understand the Scriptures better (Even understanding the Greek New Testament, as one third of it is quoted from the Hebrew Old Testament – 2606 Old Testament verses quoted in 7967 New Testament verses as per Barnes’ Bible Charts. 32.7% of the New Testament is directly from the Old Testament).

Today, I would like to leave a thought with you using Martin Luther’s words. If Hebrew is the Spring, Greek is the Stream and Latin a downstream Pool, what is English? Is it not a small Puddle?

Don’t get me wrong. The translators of the hundreds of English Translations available today, have done their own best. But we have to come to the same conclusion about all these translations. A translation is just that. A translation. It will never be as good as the Original. Anyone who has read books from a foreign author in their native language and then read the same book in English or any other language will understand what I am trying to say. Translations will always loose it’s purity down the way. The Spring to the puddle. If a person is happy with the water in the puddle, so be it. I, on the other hand, prefer the Spring. And am swimming towards it, in the pursuit of truth.

Defining the word “Christ”

The word “Christ”, is commonly used today alongside the name of Jesus. So much so, that “Jesus Christ” has become one name. But what is the actual meaning behind the word “Christ”? Some say, that the meaning is Messiah, Savior or Deliverer. Is this claim true? Let’s go back to the original Manuscripts and the Greek & Hebrew words to check the truth and learn for ourselves the true Biblical definition rather than stick to any particular translation.

First of all, let’s check the Greek word, which the word “Christ” has been translated from:
The Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance
G5547 – Χριστός – Christos – khris-tos’
From G5548; Meaning Anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.

(In all of the instances where khris-tos’ is present in the New Testament, the KJV Bible translation reads “Christ”). The word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word. It is a word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’.

Since the Strong’s definition above says that “khris-tos'” is derived from the word denoted by Strong’s Number G5548, let’s check that word as well.

G5548 – χρίω – chriō – khree’-o
Meaning to smear or rub with oil, that is, (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service: – Anoint.
(Luk 4:18, Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38, 2Cor 1:21, Heb 1:9)

So it is very clear now where the word khris-tos’ comes from, and that it means Anointed. Making it clear that “Christ” means “Anointed”. But what about the word “Messiah”? The definition of Messiah is, a deliverer or savior. Where is the connection between “Christ” and “Messiah”? Hold on for a second, We will get the answer for this soon!

Now that we know that the word “Christ” means “Anointed“, let us move to the Old Testament to check the meaning behind the word “Anointed” as well. (The word “Christ” does not appear in the Old Testament because it is derived from a Greek word, whereas the Old Testament is written in Hebrew)

The Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance
H4899 – משׁיח – mâshı̂yach – maw-shee’-akh
From H4886; Anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.

(In all of the instances other than Daniel 9:25&26, where the word “maw-shee’-akh”appears in the Old Testament, the KJV Bible translation reads as “Anointed”. In Daniel 9;25,26 “maw-shee’-akh” is translated in the KJV Bible as “Messiah”). Just like the word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’, “Messiah” also is a cognate word that originates from the Hebrew word “maw-shee’-akh”!

The only 2 places that the word “Messiah” is found in the whole KJV Bible is in
Daniel 9: Verses 25 & 26. And actual Hebrew word there is none other than “maw-shee’-akh” the word that is translated as “Anointed”.

You might think, so what is the big deal about this? Why do we need to understand what “Christ” means?
Reason No.1

In the New Testament, the word “Christ”, has always referred to Yeshua. Giving the meaning of “Yeshua the Anointed”. The Hebrew word “maw-shee’-akh”, on the other hand,  is not, and has not been exclusive to Yeshua(The hebrew name of Jesus). Here are some instances “maw-shee’-akh” is used for others.

You can see David referring to Saul as God’s Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – 1Sam 26:9,11,16, 23
Levitical Priests were called Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – Lev 4:3,5,16
Cyrus, the Persian King was called Anointed(“maw-shee’-akh”) – Isaiah 45:1

Am I refuting the Fact that Yeshua is “THE Messiah”? God forbid. Not at all. I am merely trying to show the biblical definition of the word “Christ”.
The word maw-shee’-akh in Daniel 9:25,26 has valid reason to be translated as Messiah or Savior, as I believe it is referring to “THE Anointed” one, Yeshua our Messiah.

We know that He was Anointed with the Holy Spirit by God in the beginning of His ministry(Acts 10:38). But what was He anointed as? And why is He called THE Anointed one? We know, by reading Hebrews 8:1, That He has been Anointed as our High Priest.
We also know, according to 1Tim6:14,15 and a whole load of scriptures in the book of Revelations, that He will be the one who is Anointed King when He comes the second time.

He is THE Anointed High Priest & THE Anointed King over our lives.

Reason No.2
To unravel the confusion between the terms “Christ”, “Anointed” & “Messiah”.
Take a look at the verses given below.
2Ti 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
(If Christ meant Messiah which means Savior, this verse would read, …of our “Savior” Jesus “Savior”, who hath…) Check Philip 3:20, Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6, 2Pet 1:1,11, 2:20 as well.
We need to understand the difference between Yeshua being the Saviour, and Him being called Anointed. He is called THE Anointed one, who is our Saviour.

Reason No.3
Maybe the most important of all the reasons for our lives would be what it means to be called a “Christian”. The word “Christian” can be seen only 3 times in the Bible.
(Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1Peter 4:16)

G5546 – Χριστιανός – Christianos – khris-tee-an-os’
From G5547; a Christian, that is, follower of Christ: – Christian.

Which means Just like the word “Christ” is clearly a cognate word that originates from the Greek word khris-tos’, “Christian” also originates from the Greek word khris-tee-an-os’! It is a follower of Christ. Someone who acts as Christ. Someone who emulates THE Anointed one.

In closing, I would just like to say, that knowing the true meanings of the words we use pertaining to the Bible can be of little or no use to most people. But I hope it has helped you to understand one of the most used words concerning Yeshua. Every time that you read “Christ” in your bible, remember that the true meaning of it is not Savior, Deliverer or Messiah but “THE Anointed”. I hope this helps even a few people understand that “Christ” is not just another meaningless title that our Messiah carries, and when you read “Jesus Christ” in your Bibles, that it will make much more sense and bring much more revelation in your personal studies.

Added on 29th March 2013
Another important point had been missed by me in this definition. Yeshua said in Mat 24:4,5, “Let no one deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” With the definition we have of “Christ”, what can Yeshua be saying here?
Many shall come in my name(I’m a follower of Yeshua), saying, I am Christ(Anointed), and deceive many. What He asked us to be careful of was not only “THE Antichrist”. It was also people who would come saying that “I am a follower of Yeshua. I am an anointed one who speaks God’s words.” The only way to be not deceived, is to know God’s Word. A person who speaks God’s word cannot go against the Scripture. Not even one word.