Yehovah, Yahweh, YHVH – Say the Name of God!
Did you know the Bible mentions the name of the God of Israel 6,828 times? (Strong’s #H3068 & #H3069) Yet, if you ask most people the name of God, they can’t tell you. Many can name the gods of other countries, cultures and pagan religions, but not the name of the one and only true God – YHVH (יהוה in Hebrew).
Why is this? Why isn’t His name spelled out in our Bibles? And, what have we missed all these centuries by not using His actual name?
As with other traditions and customs, the reasons for this have evolved over the centuries. The most prominent comes from the Hebrew rabbis who’ve guarded and passed down the scriptures. They believed that the name was too holy to pronounce, and thus instructed the priests and scribes to change it to “Adonai” when they came across it. The word “LORD” (in all caps) in our Bibles today is the English translation of the word “Adonai.”
Ironically, another reason using the name of Yehovah was discouraged was in order to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. In the 3rd century bce, “As Judaism became a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun elohim, meaning ‘god,’ tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others.” (http://www.eliyah.com/whythlrd.htm). Christians began making the change in the 2nd century CE, and it became a prominent practice by the 4th century, with the Church Fathers translating the scriptures to Latin replacing “YHVH” with “Dominus” meaning Lord. (http://www.eliyah.com/whythlrd.htm)
From that noble beginning, the word “LORD” replaced the Hebrew name “YHVH” (or יהוה ) in our Bibles. Today, as a result of man’s changes to the word of Yehovah, his name has been completely overshadowed by names of other man-made gods.
Other contributing factors to the disappearance of Yehovah’s name through the centuries include debates on how to say the name “YHVH” accurately, so as not to misrepresent or dishonor Him. Still others are wanting to protect the name from being erased or defaced (based on Deut 12:3-4 and others), which has led Jews today to write “G-d” as a way of protecting the name in written form from dishonor or disregard, should the paper it’s written on be ruined or discarded.
In our desire to honor Yehovah, we’ve made new rules contrary to his word that have resulted in just the opposite. We’ve virtually nearly erased his very name from the earth, while the names of other gods gain prominence. We’ve replaced the word nearly every time and, consequently, shrouded Yehovah from view in our cultures and even in our churches.
Today, with so many people and cultures recognizing some sort of made-up god or gods, many have come to believe – either ignorantly or deliberately (or both) – that all gods are ultimately referring to the one true God – whatever name you want to call him or her. There’s this notion of “the universe” – one authority in the cosmos that unites all the gods. For instance, many of your friends – believers included – likely think that both Christians and Muslims serve the same god, and just call him by a different name. Some would prefer that Christians go on thinking this, because it promotes peace and unity of mankind. But Muslims don’t believe in or serve the God of Israel, Yehovah, and when Yehovah’s followers acquiesce to believing in “God” instead of using his name, we’re actually showing our naivety, allowing their god to be equal with Yehovah, and robbing Yehovah of his glory.
When we don’t use the name Yehovah or specify the God of Israel, our hearers or readers can insert whatever god they’d like, giving their god credence, glory, honor and visibility. In the case of Muslims, they use their god’s name all the time, several times per day. We now live in a world where more people know the name of the Muslim god, than the one true God – Yehovah.
The Power of the Name
Why would Yehovah inspire nearly every writer of the books of the Bible to use his name if he didn’t want his people using it? In the books of Moses alone, the name YHVH (or יהוה ) is spelled out in the Hebrew manuscripts over 1,600 times, beginning in Genesis 2:4. Imagine if every time you saw the word “LORD” (in all caps) it read Yehovah or Yahweh (as some pronounce it). You’d be seeing and saying his name nearly 7,000 times as you read through the Bible. This was the intent of the authors of the Bible, and, might I add, of Yehovah himself (“All scripture is inspired by Yehovah…” 2 Tim. 3:16).
Why does Yehovah want us using his name? In searching the scriptures for references to using his name, I came to understand the many benefits of doing so.
(I have restored “Yehovah” where the word “LORD” appeared in the following verses.)
His Name Provides Strength & Protection
- Psalm 20:1, 7-8 (NASB) May Yehovah answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! …Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of Yehovah, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stood upright.
- Deuteronomy 28:7 & 10 (NASB) Yehovah shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways…. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of Yehovah, and they will be afraid of you.
- Proverbs 18:10 (NASB) The name of Yehovah is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.
- Psalm 118:10 (NASB) All nations surrounded me; In the name of Yehovah I will surely cut them off. They surrounded me like bees; they were extinguished as a fire of thorns; In the name of Yehovah I will surely cut them off.
- Joel 2:32 (NASB) And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of Yehovah will be delivered;
- Zephaniah 3:12 (NASB) But I will leave among you a humble and lowly people, and they will take refuge in the name of Yehovah.
- Psalm 124:8 (NASB) Our help is in the name of Yehovah, who made heaven and earth.
- Isaiah 50:10 (NASAB) Who is among you that fears Yehovah, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of Yehovah and rely on his God.
His Name Provides Blessing
- Numbers 6:27 (NASB) So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.
- Exodus 20:24 (NASB) You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.
- Deuteronomy 21:5 (NASB) Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for Yehovah your God has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of Yehovah; and every dispute and every assault shall be settled by them.
- 2 Samuel 6:18 (NASB) When David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offering, he blessed the people in the name of Yehovah.
We Can Praise and Honor Him by Using His Name
- Malachi 3:16 (NASB) Then those who feared Yehovah spoke to one another, and Yehovah gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear Yehovah and who esteem His name.
- Isaiah 24:15 (NASB) Therefore glorify Yehovah in the east, the name of Yehovah, the God of Israel, in the coastlands of the sea.
- Micah 4:5 (NASB) Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of Yehovah our God forever and ever.
- Joel 2:26a (NASB) “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of Yehovah your God, who has dealt wondrously with you;
- David loved to praise the name of Yehovah, see these Psalms.
Yehovah Considers Not Saying a Name an Act of Dishonor Reserved for His Enemies
- Exodus 23:13 (NASB) Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.
- Joshua 23:6-7 (NASB) Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you will not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them.
- Psalm 16:4 (NASB) The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, nor will I take their names upon my lips.
- Psalm 109:13 (NASB) Let his posterity be cut off; in a following generation let their name be blotted out.
- Psalm 9:5 (NASB) You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
- Deuteronomy 29:20 (NASB) Yehovah shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of Yehovah and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and Yehovah will blot out his name from under heaven.
- Exodus 17:14 (NASB) Then Yehovah said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
- Deuteronomy 25:19 (NASB) Therefore it shall come about when Yehovah your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which Yehovah your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.
- Deuteronomy 9:14 (NASB) Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.
We are Encouraged – Even Commanded – to Say His Name
- Exodus 3:15 (NIV) God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘Yehovah the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”
- Exodus 9:16 (KJV) And in very deed for this [cause] have I raised thee up, for to shew [in] thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
- Psalm 105:1 (KJV) O give thanks to Yehovah; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
- Psalm 113:1-3 (NASB) Praise Yehovah! Praise, O servants of Yehovah, Praise the name of Yehovah. Blessed be the name of Yehovah from this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of Yehovah is to be praised.
- 2 Samuel 7:26 (KJV) And let thy name be magnified forever, saying, Yehovah of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
- Psalm 34:3 (NASB) O magnify Yehovah with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Our Patriarchs Called on His Name
- Genesis 12:8 (NASB) Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to Yehovah and called upon the name of Yehovah.
- Genesis 13:4 (NASB) …to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of Yehovah.
- Genesis 21:33 (NASB) Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of Yehovah, the Everlasting God.
- Genesis 26:25 (NASB) So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Yehovah, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
- Exodus 34:5 (NASB) Yehovah descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of Yehovah.
- Deuteronomy 3:23 (NIV) For I will proclaim the name of Yehovah. Come, declare the greatness of our God!
- 1 Kings 18:24 (NASB) Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yehovah, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good idea.”
- Psalm 116:4 (KJV) Then I called upon the name of Yehovah; O Yehovah, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
- Psalm 116:13 (KJV) I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of Yehovah.
- Psalm 116:17 (KJV) I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of Yehovah.
- Psalm 119:55 (NASB) O Yehovah, I remember your name in the night, and keep your law.
We’ll Say His Name in the Millennium
- Zephaniah 3:9 (NASB) For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of Yehovah, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.
- Isaiah 12:4 (KJV) And in that day shall ye say, Praise Yehovah, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
- Isaiah 52:6a (KJV) My people shall know my name…
Say the Name of Yehovah!
What have we lost by hiding – and even avoiding – the name of Yehovah for so many centuries? Start now – take refuge in his name, say it, proclaim it, write it, praise his name, bless his name and be blessed by it, magnify his name, love and honor it. I encourage you to read Yehovah back into the scriptures and see how he reveals himself to you. Call on his name – use it in prayer, praise and with other people. Regain what you’ve been missing and may his name be known throughout the earth!
“O magnify Yehovah with me and let us exalt his name together.”
“And Yehovah will be king over all the earth; in that day Yehovah will be the only one, and His name the only one.”
To see the Hebrew transcript of the Bible, I recommend Scripture 4 All’s Hebrew Interlinear Bible.
A good read on this topic is “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence” by Nehemia Gordon.
Thank you for sharing
October 25, 2022 at 6:24 am
I’ve much preferred to use YHWH. It is indeed sacred and very holy just like YHVH. God has many names and each name always refers to him, it defines him and his power. It does not really matter which names we all call him because, at the end of the day, we’re all referring to The One True God, The Heavenly Father, Elohim of all elohims.
The tongue can say one thing but the heart says another.
April 6, 2022 at 3:03 pm
Great Study on our Father’s true name! Yehovah wants His people to call Him by His True Name! Shalom!
March 25, 2021 at 10:04 am
Please read the scholar Nehemia Gordon for the written pronunciation of his name. He has studied many manuscripts. you’ll be glad you did. https://www.nehemiaswall.com/nehemia-gordon-name-god
January 17, 2020 at 11:05 am
Jehovah is the english name of the most high. His modern day people are peacefully and unitedly proclaiming his name globally in 240 lands. The good news of his kingdom is the only hope for mankind. The reason christ made it his main preaching subject as his modern day people also do.
September 8, 2022 at 6:25 pm
The name of the father is not Yahweh. It is Yahuah. numbers cap 6 vers 22-27..
Deu. Cap. 12. I don’t believe in yahuah due to my own believe. I believe in yahuah due to the scriptures.
February 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm
this is a response I saw as to why messianic/jewish ppl do not use the name we are conversing about.
“I’ll try not to make it a long explanation, but it involves some Hebrew/Jewish education. Here goes….God the father is frequently referred to as Yahweh in Christian circles. This comes from the common pronunciation of the word used in the Bible for God’s name. In Judaism, this name is referred to as the Tetragrammaton and is written in Hebrew with the letters yud-hey-vav-hey. This name was only spoken by the high priest and only on the Day of Atonement. Judaism holds that this name, since the destruction of the Second Temple, is no longer to be spoken. We no longer know the correct pronunciation and since ancient Hebrew has no vowel marks, the exact pronunciation cannot be known. Any attempt to pronounce it would be merely a guess and Hebrew and Biblical scholars only agree that we don’t know formate what they pronunciation is. The stance of Judaism is that we should not be guessing when it comes to pronouncing the most holy name of the God of the universe, so when the text is read and this name comes across, “Adonai” is substituted, which means “my Lord.” In your English Bible, you will notice in the Old Testament that you see LORD. That is an instance of the use of the Tetragrammaton in the original Hebrew text.
The “w” controversy arises because the letter vav in the name has a “v” sound in modern Hebrew but could have a “w” sound in ancient Hebrew. Once again, we do not know what the original pronunciation of this letter was when God uttered his name to Moses. However, it has become common, though not agreed upon in scholarly circles, to refer to this name using “Yahweh.” I personally take issue with this because I agree with the Jewish stance. If we do not know how to correctly pronounce such a sacred and holy name, should we just take our best guess and then use it everywhere? “Jehovah” is another example of someone’s translation of the Tetragrammaton. The same four Hebrew letters with two completely different ways that people say it’s supposed to be pronounced. However, there is absolutely no “j” in Hebrew, so the Jehovah one really gets to me.”
August 23, 2016 at 4:15 pm
Thank you, Rachel. This is a good synopsis of that viewpoint. The book referenced in the post does a nice job explaining the full background as well.
September 1, 2016 at 6:37 am
The intent of the great commission Yeshua gave us was that all disciples saturate themselves and others in the NAMES of the Father, Son. and Holy Spirit. One must know Jehovah to baptize others in that NAME. You have just baptized us in the awesome and wonderful NAME of Jehovah.
Sadly this basic method of spreading the knowledge of who Jehovah is, central to Christianity and intended for all Christians to engage in, has been obscured by ceremony of words and water which only the elite are allowed to perform. Is it any wonder you have written what you did in your article above?
If all Christians would concern themselves with making Jehovah known as Jesus did, Luke 10:21-24, John 17:1, 6, 26, the knowledge of Jehovah would have covered the world as the waters cover the sea by now wouldn’t it?
January 22, 2016 at 5:27 pm
ah, good point, Don. Let’s start now!
January 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm
I’m just curious as to why it seems you prefer the use of Yehovah over Yahweh? Isn’t Yahweh more accurate then YHVH or Yehovah?
January 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm
Since the Hebrew alphabet has no vowels, a case can be made for pronouncing יהוה either Yahweh or Yehovah. I have no problem with Yahweh. Yehovah is the pronunciation used in the congregation I attend, so for the sake of unity that’s what I use. Thanks for your comment.
January 24, 2016 at 10:40 pm
That’s understandable, I just wanted to add something to my reply to you. Yesterday I had just got done searching for information on this very topic when I checked an older e-mail account and saw that I received an e-mail from Messianic Sabbath on the topic of God’s name. I had been searching for a congregation near me online and ran into something I was familiar with but never invested much research into. One of the post I came across while looking for a congregation had wrote YHVH instead of YHWH so I began to research online. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear when I saw the topic of your post in my mail, and thought to myself, Yah works in mysterious ways, and in ways that are obvious and right in my face it seems. I figure using Yah is appropriate seeming we say Hallelu-YAH! I agree with your post, knowing our lord’s name is important, it’s a commandment, and it seems to be very powerful.
January 25, 2016 at 10:00 am
Thank you for sharing this!
January 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm
If one believes God and that He Is The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit who Is,Was & Forever Will Be, The One Son of Man, The Messiah , God The Kinsman Redeemer who confined His Glory in our human flesh and blood to be The Cursed Man crucified on a tree and if one has believed and trusted His Words of The Law and Instructions which He has spoken and had written in The Holy Scriptures then one must surely realize and recognize the Fact of Faith that anytime God mentions His Name or there is dialogue in His Scriptures referring to Himself as being God or Lord then one can with all confidence use THE NAME which by which He made His final revelation of Himself physically, verbally, literally and spiritually as being YESHUA, JESUS, ESHU OR WHATEVER LANGUAGE A MAN MAY SPEAK – JESUS IS GOD HIMSELF IN OUR FLESH AND BLOOD, SERVANT KING, GREAT HIGH PRIEST, JUST JUDGE AND HOLY FATHER.
Any time in your reading the earlier testimonial history God has given us that you see the word God or Lord or any other revelation of God’s Name you will not be doing any wrong by using His final revealed name to mankind JESUS because THIS NAME is THE NAME, THE ONLY NAME OF GOD by which any human being is redeemed by and is saved/delivered in being born anew/complete and enter into The Kingdom Household of The Eternal One Absolute, One-United God of Eternity and Israel. A man can pronounce or write a variety of God’s Name, the quite literal characteristics and attributes of Himself but it is ONLY HIS NAME JESUS that a man may call upon and know with full assurance that he or she is one fully redeemed and delivered from his or her damnation under God’s Justice because of his or her own sin and life rejecting God as The Saviour – JESUS, JESUS MY JESUS. LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY “SO!”.!!!
January 22, 2016 at 8:39 am