- Christogenea Internet Radio
What’s in a Name?
Identity Christians are sometimes perceived as Judaizers, at least those of us who often prefer to use certain Biblical Hebrew terms in place of more modern English or Greek terms. This is especially true where it comes to the use of certain Hebrew names and titles for the God of Israel, or for Christ. But to me, it is much more dangerous heresy to be a Judaizer in the implementation of certain doctrines and concepts that are really only derivatives of the Old Covenant reliance on ceremonies and rituals, rather than to be called a Judaizer on account of a preference for a couple of names or words. To Judaize is one thing, but to lay claim to a heritage which rightfully belongs to many White Europeans, and which never actually belonged to Jews, is something totally different.
So here we are going to present, and hopefully expand on, a paper written by Clifton Emahiser titled Which Is It, "Lord" Or "Yahweh"? But Clifton really did not write this paper. He only wrote the first paragraph, and the rest was simply a reproduction of an article from the 1910 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. Then he sent this to me to proofread, in the Spring of 2004, and doing that, I made some brief comments which he then added as a conclusion to the article. Making this presentation, I will rearrange some of those notes this evening, and I will certainly also add many others.
When Clifton presented this, he was addressing people such as the Christian Identity pastor Pete Peters and a few others who despised, and sometimes even mocked, the use of the name Yahweh as being a Jewish ploy, and Clifton only sought to show the historicity of the use of the name in order to prove otherwise, that it certainly should not be mocked.
Which Is It, "Lord" Or "Yahweh"? by Clifton Emahiser
Many today are struggling with this very question. What other subject could be of more importance than the very name of our Creator? Maybe the following article will solve some of your uncertainties. If one wishes to find information on the term “Yahweh” it is somewhat hard to find. One reason is because in most encyclopedias it is listed under “Jehovah.” Also, in later up-to-date encyclopedias the information is rather suppressed.
This is important. Any culture or people can worship a “God” or a “Lord”, and the word Baal does actually translate to Lord, but that does not necessarily mean that one’s Lord is Baal. Another word meaning lord, which the Old Testament Scriptures often used in a positive sense, is adon or adonay. That word appears, for example, in Psalm 110:1 in a passage cited by Christ in reference to Himself. So generic titles can be acceptable, but when generic titles are substituted for distinct and proper names, one person may mistakenly believe that another person worships the same god. That helps pave the way for the international and inter-racial diversity and imagined cooperation between the races which we see in society today, but which does not exist in reality, and that in turn has served as a means to destroy Christendom. Muslims can claim to worship “God”, but their god is not the God of the Bible, regardless of what they claim, and this is true of other races and cultures as well. If we do not see the danger and the damage which this situation has caused to our Christian society, then we simply do not see.
Now returning to Clifton:
The following is a rather thorough, but not perfect, article on this subject found in the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica printed in 1910. We will not use the entire article as toward the end they get mired in the errant criticisms of the 1800’s humanists. Otherwise this article brings to light many historical facts on the topic. But like all testimony, it must be scrutinized! (Footnotes have been changed to paragraph notes at the end of each paragraph by the use of superscript numerals inside of brackets [ ] ):
The source is rather dated, and many archaeological discoveries giving us further insight into the historical use of the name Yahweh had not yet been found, so we will present at least some of the pertinent information to bring this presentation up-to-date. Now to present the Britannica article:
JEHOVAH (Yahweh1), in the Bible, the God of Israel. “Jehovah” is a modern mispronunciation of the Hebrew name, resulting from combining the consonants of that name, Jhvh, with the vowels of the word adonay, “Lord,” which the Jews substituted for the proper name in reading the scriptures. In such cases of substitution the vowels of the word which is to be read are written in the Hebrew text with the consonants of the word which is not to be read. The consonants of the word to be substituted are ordinarily written in the margin; but inasmuch as Adonay was regularly read instead of the ineffable name Jhvh, it was deemed unnecessary to note the fact at every occurrence. When Christian scholars began to study the Old Testament in Hebrew, if they were ignorant of this general rule or regarded the substitution as a piece of Jewish superstition, reading what actually stood in the text, they would inevitably pronounce the name Jehovah. It is an unprofitable inquiry who first made this blunder; probably many fell into it independently. The statement still commonly repeated that it originated with Petrus Galatinus (1518) is erroneous; Jehova occurs in manuscripts at least as early as the 14th century. [1 This form, Yahweh, as the correct one, is generally used in the separate articles throughout this work.]
In spite of the profession in that footnote, the article is found under Jehovah, in Volume 11 of the edition, and there is no entry under “Y” for Yahweh redirecting to this article where it would be expected to be found in Volume 28 of the edition. As a digression, when I moved Clifton’s library in September of 2017 I retrieved this set of the Encyclopedia Britannica from a shelf in his basement, as it is in very poor condition. The 1898 9th edition was in much better condition, evidently being bound with much better materials. Continuing with the article:
The form Jehovah was used in the 16th century by many authors, both Catholic and Protestant, and in the 17th was zealously defended by Fuller, Gataker, Leusden and others, against the criticisms of such scholars as Drusius, Cappellus and the elder Buxtorf. It appeared in the English Bible in Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch (1530), and is found in all English Protestant versions of the 16th century except that of Coverdale (1535). In the Authorized Version of 1611 it occurs in Exod. vi. 3; Ps. lxxxiii. 18; Isa. xii. 2; xxvi. 4, beside the compound names Jehovah-jireh, Jehovah-nissi, Jehovah-shalom; elsewhere, in accordance with the usage of the ancient versions, Jhvh is represented by LORD (distinguished by capitals from the title “Lord,” Heb. adonay). In the Revised Version of 1885 Jehovah is retained in the places in which it stood in the A.V., and is introduced also in Exod. vi. 2, 6, 7, 8; Ps. lxviii. 20; Isa. xlix, 14; Jer. xvi. 21; Hab. iii: 19. The American committee which cooperated in the revision desired to employ the name Jehovah wherever Jhvh occurs in the original, and editions embodying their preferences are printed accordingly.
Here we see that many of the earliest Protestant Christian scholars had written Jehovah, which is what they thought was the proper English form of the name of the God of the Bible into their translations of the Old Testament. If they had known better, they certainly would have written the more proper form, which is Yahweh. Later we shall comment at greater length on the difference between the two forms. Continuing with the Britannica article:
Several centuries before the Christian era the name Jhvh had ceased to be commonly used by the Jews. Some of the later writers in the Old Testament employ the appellative Elohim, God, prevailingly or exclusively; a collection of Psalms (Ps. xlii. - lxxxiii.) was revised by an editor who changed the Jhvh of the authors into Elohim (see e.g. xlv. 7; xlviii 10; l. 7; li. 14);observe also the frequency of “the Most High,” “the God of Heaven,” “King of Heaven,” in Daniel, and of “Heaven” in First Maccabees.
The name Yahweh does often appear in Daniel, in spite of the other titles which were employed, but 1st Maccabees was written in Greek, and possibly not until the same period when the name was beginning to be prohibited, as it is certainly within the “several centuries before the Christian era” which the article admits. Perhaps this information comes from examining the Letter of Aristeas, which dates to the second century BC and in which the name does not appear, and we will discuss that writing further on in this presentation. Again, continuing with the Britannica article:
The oldest Greek versions (Septuagint), from the third century B.C., consistently use Κύριος, “Lord,” where the Hebrew has Jhvh, corresponding to the substitution of Adonay for Jhvh in reading the original; in books written in Greek in this period (e.g. Wisdom, 2 and 3 Maccabees), as in the New Testament, Κύριος takes the place of the name of God.
This is not true. They may have perceived it to be true in 1910, but there are no surviving manuscripts of the Septuagint containing Κύριος which are that old, so they are only speculating based on conjecture. The oldest near-complete Septuagint manuscripts of the Septuagint are in the Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, from the 4th century. Fragments of Origen’s Hexapla date to the early 3rd century AD. Later on in this presentation we will discuss contrary evidence that was not available when this article was written. Now it can be said that the oldest Greek copies, discovered by archaeologists long after this article was published, did use forms of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton rather than Κύριος. Again, continuing with the Britannica article:
Josephus, who as a priest knew the pronunciation of the name, declares that religion forbids him to divulge it; Philo calls it ineffable, and says that it is lawful for those only whose ears and tongues are purified by wisdom to hear and utter it in a holy place (that is, for priests in the Temple); and in another passage, commenting on Lev. xxiv. 15 seq.: “If any one, I do not say should blaspheme against the Lord of men and gods, but should even dare to utter his name unseasonably, let him expect the penalty of death.”1 [1 See Josephus, Ant. ii. 12, 4; Philo, Vita Mosis, iii. 11 (ii. §114, ed. Cohn and Wendland); ib. iii. 27 (ii. §206).The Palestinian authorities more correctly interpreted Lev. xxiv. 15 seq., not of the mere utterance of the name, but of the use of the name of God in blaspheming God.]
As we shall cite below, Josephus attested in Greek that the Hebrew name YHVH may be pronounced with four vowels, meaning four Greek vowels. In Greek, it would be quite difficult to spell or pronounce Jehovah with four vowels, or with any amount of vowels, but Yahweh may easily be represented with four Greek vowels. Returning to the Britannica article:
Various motives may have concurred to bring about the suppression of the name. An instinctive feeling that a proper name for God implicitly recognizes the existence of other gods may have had some influence; reverence and the fear lest the holy name should be profaned among the heathen were potent reasons; but probably the most cogent motive was the desire to prevent the abuse of the name in magic. If so, the secrecy had the opposite effect; the name of the god of the Jews was one of the great names in magic, heathen as well as Jewish, and miraculous efficacy was attributed to the mere utterance of it.
In my opinion, it is probably no coincidence that the name of Yahweh began to be suppressed by the Judaeans around the same time that the Israelites of Jerusalem under the Maccabees had begun absorbing the Canaanites and Edomites of Judaea and forcing them to comply with what may then be called Judaism. Earlier, in Old Testament times, the name Yahweh appears on inscriptions which were apparently common, so it is evident that the name was used by the common people, but the Judaeans of the first century, namely Philo and Josephus, clearly state that it was forbidden in their own time. Back to our Britannica article:
In the liturgy of the Temple the name was pronounced in the priestly benediction (Num. vi. 27) after the regular daily sacrifice (in the synagogues a substitute – probably Adonay – was employed);1 on the Day of Atonement the High Priest uttered the name ten times in his prayers and benediction. In the last generations before the fall of Jerusalem, however, it was pronounced in a low tone so that the sounds were lost in the chant of the priests.2 [1Siphrê, Num. §§ 39, 43; M. Sotah, iii. 7; Sotah, 38a. The tradition that the utterance of the name in the daily benedictions ceased with the death of Simeon the Just, two centuries or more before the Christian era, perhaps arose from a misunderstanding of Menahoth, 109b; in any case it cannot stand against the testimony of older and more authoritative texts. 2Yoma, 39b; Jer. Yoma, iii. 7; Kiddushin, 71a.]
I am not going to pursue the citations from Talmudic literature, because I really do not care what the Jews think about the suppression of the name, or how they justify it. The plain truth is that they did suppress it, and traditional Roman Christianity from at least the 3rd century had supported that suppression, although the early apostles were apparently constrained by it, which we shall also discuss. Continuing with our Britannica article:
After the destruction of the Temple (A.D. 70) the liturgical use of the name ceased, but the tradition was perpetuated in the schools of the rabbis.1 It was certainly known in Babylonia in the latter part of the 4th century,2 and not improbably much later. Nor was the knowledge confined to these pious circles; the name continued to be employed by healers, exorcists and magicians, and has been preserved in many places in magical papyri.
Actually, as we have since discovered, the name Yahweh in the form of the Tetragrammaton was also preserved in early Greek copies of the Scriptures until as late as the 3rd century AD, although after the 1st century the use of Κύριος, or Lord, was apparently more common and ultimately prevailed. Because of the persecution and suppression of Christianity itself by both Jews and Romans, we will probably never have a full picture of the transition. We only know that the Jews despised and denounced the use of the name, as our article now explains:
The vehemence with which the utterance of the name is denounced in the Mishna – “He who pronounces the Name with its own letters has no part in the world to come!”3 suggests that this misuse of the name was not uncommon among Jews. [1 R. Johanan (second half of the 3rd century), Kiddushin, 71a. 2 Kiddushin, l.c. = Pesahim, 50a. 3M. Sanhedrin, x. 1;Abba Saul, end of 2nd century.]
The Samaritans, who otherwise shared the scruples of the Jews about the utterance of the name, seem to have used it in judicial oaths to the scandal of the rabbis.1 [1 Jer. Sanhedrin, x. 1;R.Mana, 4th century.]
The early Christian scholars, who inquired what was the true name of the God of the Old Testament, had therefore no great difficulty in getting the information they sought. Clement of Alexandria (d. c. 212) says that it was pronounced Ιαουε.1 Epiphanius (d. 404), who was born in Palestine and spent a considerable part of his life there, gives Ιαβε (one cod. Ιαυε).2
Clement used five vowels, rather than four, which would cause a slight variation in the pronunciation but the result is still very similar. Being an Alexandrian and living in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries, Clement certainly had access to many speakers of the Hebrew of the time, whether or not they were Israelites or Edomites. The variation between Ιαβε and Ιαυε is understandable in the rather common dialectual difference of whether the Hebrew letter vav should be pronounced as a “v” or a “u”, or “w”, which we also see comparing other Germanic languages with English or in opinions of how the Latin “u” was originally pronounced. Pronouncing a word in another tongue with a “v”, in ancient Greek it would become a “b”, for want of the “v”. Again returning to Britannica:
Theodoret (d. c. 457),3 born in Antioch, writes that the Samaritans pronounced the name Ιαβε (in another passage, Ιαβαι), the Jews Αἳα.4 The latter is probably not Jhvh but Ehyeh (Exod. iii. 14), which the Jews counted among the names of God [Strong’s Concordance has it as hayah, and it is translated as “I AM” in the King James Version - WRF]; there is no reason whatever to imagine that the Samaritans pronounced the name Jhvh differently from the Jews. This direct testimony is supplemented by that of the magical texts, in which Ιαβε ζεβυθ (Jahveh Sebaoth), as well as Ιαβα, occurs frequently.5 In an Ethiopic list of magical names of Jesus, purporting to have been taught by him to his disciples, Yawe is found.6 Finally, there is evidence from more than one source that the modern Samaritan priests pronounce the name Yahweh or Yahwa.7 [1Strom. v. 6. Variants: Ια ουε, Ια ουαι; cod. L. Ιαου 2Panarion, Haer. 40, 5;cf. Lagarde, Psalter juxta Hebraeos, 154. 3 Quaest. 15 in Exod.; Fab. haeret. compend. v. 3, sub fin. 4 Αἳα occurs also in the great magical papyrus of Paris, 1. 3020 (Wessely, Denkschrift. Wien. Akad., Phil. Hist. Kl. XXXVI. p. 120), and in the Leiden Papyrus, xvii. 31. 5 See Deissmann, Bibelstudien, 13 sqq. 6 See Driver, Studia Biblica, I. 20. 7 See Montgomery, Journal of Biblical Literature, xxv. (1906), 49-51.]
There is no reason to impugn the soundness of this substantially consentient testimony to the pronunciation Yahweh or Jahveh, coming as it does through several independent channels. It is confirmed by grammatical considerations. The name Jhvh enters into the composition of many proper names of persons in the Old Testament, either as the initial element, in the form Jeho- or Jo- (as in Jehoram, Joram), or as the final element, in the form -jahu or -jah (as in Adonijahu, Adonijah). These various forms are perfectly regular if the divine name was Yahweh, and, taken altogether, they cannot be explained on any other hypothesis. Recent scholars, accordingly, with but few exceptions, are agreed that the ancient pronunciation of the name was Yahweh (the first h sounded at the end of the syllable).
Genebrardus seems to have been the first to suggest the pronunciation Iahue,1 but it was not until the 19th century that it became generally accepted. [1Chronographia, Paris, 1567 (ed. Paris, 1600, p. 79 seq.).]
Jahveh or Yahweh is apparently an example of a common type of Hebrew proper names which have the form of the 3rd pers. sing. of the verb. e.g. Jabneh (name of a city), Jabin, Jamlek, Jiptah (Jephthah), &c. Most of these really are verbs, the suppressed or implicit subject being ’el, “numen, god,” or the name of a god; cf. Jabneh and Jabne-el, Jiptah and Jiptah-el.
I did not see any profit in further studying these names for this presentation, but the implications are clear, that the name Yahweh is a form of the verb translated from Hebrew as “I AM”, implying that He, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is indeed eternal, or ever-existing. Returning again to Britannica:
The ancient explanations of the name proceed from Exod. iii. 14, 15, where “Yahweh1 hath sent me” in v. 15 corresponds to “Ehyeh hath sent me” in v. 14, thus seeming to connect the name Yahweh with the Hebrew verb hayah, “to become, to be.” The Palestinian interpreters found in this the promise that God would be with his people (cf. v. 12) in future oppressions as he was in the present distress, or the assertion of his eternity, or eternal constancy; the Alexandrian translation Ἐγώ εἰμί ὁ ὤν ... Ὁ ὤν ἀπέσταλκέν με πρὸς ὑμᾶς understands it in the more metaphysical sense of God’s absolute being. [The Brenton translation of the Greek is “I am the Being… the Being has sent me to you”; it may have also been rendered something like “I am He Who Is… He Who Is has sent me to you”; now as the article continues, it rejects this transcendental interpretation of the name, where we cannot agree - WRF] Both interpretations, “He (who) is (always the same),” and “He (who) is (absolutely, the truly existent),” import into the name all that they profess to find in it; the one, the religious faith in God’s unchanging fidelity to his people, the other, a philosophical conception of absolute being which is foreign both to the meaning of the Hebrew verb and to the force of the tense employed. Modern scholars have sometimes found in the name the expression of the aseity2 of God; sometimes of his reality, in contrast to the imaginary gods of the heathen. Another explanation, which appears first in Jewish authors of the middle ages and has found wide acceptance in recent times, derives the name from the causative of the verb; He (who) causes things to be, gives them being; or calls events into existence, brings them to pass; with many individual modifications of interpretation – creator, lifegiver, fulfiller of promises. [This is not even really original with the Jews, but Paul expressed the concept in Romans 4:17 and possibly Hebrews 11:3 - WRF] A serious objection to this theory in every form is that the verb hayah, “to be,” has no causative stem in Hebrew; to express the ideas which these scholars find in the name Yahweh the language employs altogether different verbs. [1 This transcription will be used henceforth. 2A-se-itas, a scholastic Latin expression for the quality of existing by oneself.]
I would think that the objections depend on the way the Jews use Hebrew today, and the Hebrew of the Old Testament is certainly not a complete grammar or lexicon of ancient Hebrew. The objections also pretend to know the motives behind the plain statement of Exodus 3:14-15. To the contrary, our understanding directly connects Yahweh of the Pentateuch to the “I AM” of the prophets and the New Testament, whereby we have an indication and can express the fact that the God of the Bible is the same consistent and eternal being from one end of the Scriptures to the other; that is also one important reason why the name, Yahweh, appears in the Christogenea New Testament as a translation of Κύριος. If other translators have represented YHVH, or Yahweh, as Κύριος and then also as Lord, Then it must be permitted that Κύριος can be rendered in the reverse, as Yahweh. Continuing with our Britannica article:
This assumption that Yahweh is derived from the verb “to be,” as seems to be implied in Exod. iii. 14 seq., is not, however, free from difficulty. “To be” in the Hebrew of the Old Testament is not hawah, as the derivation would require, but hayah; and we are thus driven to the further assumption that hawah belongs to an earlier stage of the language, or to some older speech of the forefathers of the Israelites.
This hypothesis is not intrinsically improbable – and in Aramaic, a language closely related to Hebrew, “to be” actually is hawa – but it should be noted that in adopting it we admit that, using the name Hebrew in the historical sense, Yahweh is not a Hebrew name. And, inasmuch as nowhere in the Old Testament, outside of Exod. iii., is there the slightest indication that the Israelites connected the name of their God with the idea of “being” in any sense, it may fairly be questioned whether, if the author of Exod. iii. 14 seq., intended to give an etymological interpretation of the name Yahweh,1 his etymology is any better than many other paronomastic explanations of proper names in the Old Testament, or than, say, the connexion of the name Ἀπόλλων with ἀπολούων, ἀπολύων in Plato’s Cratylus, or the popular derivation from ἀπόλλυμι. [1 The critical difficulties of these verses need not be discussed here. See W. R. Arnold, “The Divine Name in Exodus iii. 14,” Journal of Biblical Literature, XXIV. (1905), 107-165.]
Here is a portion of what I had written to Clifton, which he included as a conclusion to his presentation of this article:
One thing the commentators fail to see in attempting to find the meaning of YHVH is the connection between the LXX’s ἐγώ εἰμί and the usage of that same phrase by Yahshua Christ in describing Himself, for which see Matt. 14:27 (Mark 6:50; John 6:20); Mark 14:62; John 4:26, (John 6:35, 41, 48), (John 8:12), John 8:18, 8:23-24, 8:28, 8:58, (9:9), 10:7-9, 11, 14, 11:25, 13:19, 14:6, (15:1, 5), 18:5, 6, 8; (Rev. 1:8, 17, 2:23, 22:16). Yahshua used this phrase often, and often it must have vexed the ‘Jews’, who surely must have realized His intention where He used it as a stand-alone phrase, in a manner that directly connects Him with the I AM of the Scriptures (i.e. Isaiah 43, and especially vv. 10-11).
The opinions given concerning the derivation of the word YHVH from the verb hawah, matching the Aramaic, are surely correct. It would be arrogant to think that “Hebrew” as the Israelites used it was the original language of their forebears! Surely both Hebrew and Aramaic had an older, common dialect, to which the word YHVH belonged.
Now I can also add, that even according to Wikipedia, modern scholars now generally agree that the name represented in the Tetragrammaton, Yahweh, is derived from the consonantal root הוה, or H-V-H. Statement of this agreement is also found in other academic sources, such as an article written for Bible Review by Bernhard Anderson titled Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain—Which Name? While we often profess, and can also often document, that mainstream academics do not have everything correct, they are not wrong about everything. However as we proceed with our article, it becomes clear that Britannica agrees as to the derivation of the name, but assigns to it different meanings in accordance with the later use of the verb reflected by Hebrew noun forms of the word.
Proceeding, we must bear in mind that the article already admitted that “in Aramaic, a language closely related to Hebrew, ‘to be’ actually is hawa – but it should be noted that in adopting it we admit that, using the name Hebrew in the historical sense, Yahweh is not a Hebrew name.” Now we must note that first, Aramaic is not Hebrew, but the two peoples were indeed closely related. In fact, we see Jacob himself was described as Aramaic, or Syrian, in Deuteronomy 26:5 where we read: “And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous…” The Israelites were not always Israelites, as the name is new with Jacob, and the Hebrews were not always Hebrews, as the name begins with Eber. Most early Americans, being English, kept their language from England although it has been adapted and now varies somewhat since they migrated to America. We must understand therefore that Hebrew must have developed as a distinct language as the descendants of Eber, who must have had a common language with Aram, were secluded from their own remote ancestors, and surely the Israelite version of Hebrew may have been different from other ancient Hebrews. So the two languages, Israelite Hebrew and Aramaic, would be very similar, but each would eventually have different variations from the original. Even the Italian of today is far different from the Latin of 1,500 years ago. So now, in my opinion, the article goes off the path and into a ditch with speculation as to the meaning of the name Yahweh:
A root hawah is represented in Hebrew by the nouns howah (Ezek., Isa. xlvii. 11) and hawwah (Ps., Prov., Job) “disaster, calamity, ruin.”1 The primary meaning is probably “sink down, fall,” in which sense – common in Arabic – the verb appears in Job xxxvii. 6 (of snow falling to earth). A Catholic commentator of the 16th century, Hieronymus ab Oleastro, seems to have been the first to connect the name “Jehova” with howah interpreting it contritio, sive pernicies (destruction of the Egyptians and Canaanites); Daumer, adopting the same etymology, took it in a more general sense: Yahweh, as well as Shaddai, meant “Destroyer,” and fitly expressed the nature of the terrible god whom he identified with Moloch. [1 Cf. Also hawwah, “desire,” Mic. vii. 3; Prov. x. 3.]
The derivation of Yahweh from hawah is formally unimpeachable, and is adopted by many recent scholars, who proceed, however, from the primary sense of the root rather than from the specific meaning of the nouns. The name is accordingly interpreted, He (who) falls (baetyl, βαίτυλος, meteorite); or causes (rain or lightning) to fall (storm god); or casts down (his foes, by his thunderbolts). It is obvious that if the derivation be correct, the significance of the name, which in itself denotes only “He falls” or “He fells,” must be learned, if at all, from early Israelitish conceptions of the nature of Yahweh rather than from etymology.
This is all based on the presumed primary meaning of a Hebrew root which does not appear in Scripture, as the words which do appear are only derivations. It is much more likely that the name Yahweh comes from the Aramaic root, which the article had suggested earlier, and not from these later nouns. The Psalms, Proverbs, Job and Ezekiel were all centuries after the time of Moses, and Moses, a man educated in the court of the Pharaoh, was certainly learned in the languages of the period. Once again returning to the article:
A more fundamental question is whether the name Yahweh originated among the Israelites or was adopted by them from some other people and speech. The biblical author of the history of the sacred institutions (P) expressly declares that the name Yahweh was unknown to the patriarchs (Exod. vi. 3), and the much older Israelite historian (E) records the first revelation of the name to Moses (Exod. iii. 13-15), apparently following a tradition according to which the Israelites had not been worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses, or, as he conceived it, had not worshipped the god of their fathers under that name.
In my original notes to Clifton I said the following:
It is apparent to me that the name, which is rather more of a designation, YHVH was surely known to the patriarchs before Abraham’s time, and – as your article goes on to discuss – so it was found among the writings of other branches of our Genesis 10 race. It was only, and surely with His will, lost to the children of Isaac, and revealed anew to Moses and the Israelites of the Exodus. The word βαίτυλος, which has no evident Greek etymology, very much resembles the Hebrew Beth-el, βαιτ often being written for “Beth” as is evident in various LXX editions.
Of course, I would state that a little differently today, but to me it is still agreeable.
It is apparent that Abraham was raised in a pagan environment, as the Scriptures also inform us that his fathers were pagans, where we read in Joshua chapter 24: “2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood [river Euphrates] in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.”
Then in Exodus chapter 3 we read: “13 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? 14 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. 15 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.” And in Exodus chapter 6: “3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name YAHWEH was I not known to them.”
All of this shows that the name Yahweh was not known to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, but it does not mean that the name was unknown in even more ancient times. I would assert that because the name was apparently derived from a dialect more ancient than Hebrew but from which Hebrew had developed, that alone is an indication to us that it was at one time known to the ancients. Forms of it appear in inscriptions from Ebla that predate the time of Moses, and it also appears in inscriptions found at Ugarit. While I am not convinced, and even reject the notion that the Ugarit texts predate Moses, even if they do it would only indicate that the name was known in more ancient times, as the texts from Ebla may also indicate. None of this disturbs a faith in Scripture, as men much more ancient than Moses must have possessed the truth of that same God who made covenants with Noah and Adam, but as the Scripture attests, from the time of Moses Yahweh revealed Himself only to the children of Israel.
Again continuing with our Britannica article:
The revelation of the name to Moses was made at a mountain sacred to Yahweh (the mountain of God) far to the south of Palestine, in a region where the forefathers of the Israelites had never roamed, and in the territory of other tribes; and long after the settlement in Canaan this region continued to be regarded as the abode of Yahweh (Judg. v. 4; Deut. xxxiii. 2 sqq.; I Kings xix. 8 sqq. &c.). Moses is closely connected with the tribes in the vicinity of the holy mountain; according to one account, he married a daughter of the priest of Midian (Exod. ii. I6 sqq.; iii. I); to this mountain he led the Israelites after their deliverance from Egypt; there his father-in-law met him, and extolling Yahweh as “greater than all the gods,” offered (in his capacity as priest of the place?) sacrifices, at which the chief men of the Israelites were his guests; there the religion of Yahweh was revealed through Moses, and the Israelites pledged themselves to serve God according to its prescriptions. It appears, therefore, that in the tradition followed by the Israelite historian the tribes within whose pasture lands the mountain of God stood were worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses; and the surmise that the name Yahweh belongs to their speech, rather than to that of Israel, has considerable probability. One of these tribes was Midian, in whose land the mountain of God lay. The Kenites also, with whom another tradition connects Moses, seem to have been worshippers of Yahweh.
In poor translations and a misunderstanding of Scripture, the Midianites were connected to Kenites rather than to the occupation of smiths. Midian was a descendant of Abraham, related to the Israelites by blood, and the commentators assume that Moses did not share his revelation with his father-in-law at some point before the resulting dialog described in the passages cited here actually took place. Jethro may have only been a priest of the “most high God” as he would have been revealed to him through Midian his ancestor, as it was revealed to Abraham. So now the article continues with another false premise, that Yahweh the God of Moses is bound by geography, or perhaps that He is only some local idol that Moses had purloined:
It is probable that Yahweh was at one time worshipped by various tribes south of Palestine, and that several places in that wide territory (Horeb, Sinai, Kadesh, &c.) were sacred to him; the oldest and most famous of these, the mountain of God, seems to have lain in Arabia, east of the Red Sea. From some of these peoples and at one of these holy places, a group of Israelite tribes adopted the religion of Yahweh, the God who, by the hand of Moses, had delivered them from Egypt.1 [1 The divergent Judaean tradition, according to which the forefathers had worshipped Yahweh from time immemorial, may indicate that Judah and the kindred clans had in fact been worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses.] …
It is more likely that Moses, writing the Exodus account after the fact, had only made a prolepsis by calling Mount Sinai, which was also known as Horeb, the “mountain of God”, because that was where Yahweh had given him the law a short time later. Other anachronisms also exist in Genesis, such as in Genesis chapter 2 where Moses mentioned the lands of Havilah, Cush or Assyria in a context many centuries before Havilah, Cush or Asshur, the men for whom those lands were named, had even been born. The name Yahweh itself appears throughout Genesis, but was never revealed to Moses until Exodus, so that is a prolepsis, because Moses may have chosen to use it when he wrote the accounts at a later time. So Sinai is referred to as the “mountain of God” in a context earlier than when it was actually employed as the mountain of God, in Exodus chapter 19. Returning to the article:
The attempts to connect the name Yahweh with that of an Indo-European deity (Jehovah-Jove, &c.), or to derive it from Egyptian or Chinese, may be passed over.
Again, from the notes which I sent to Clifton which he had used as his conclusion:
If one may only “pass over” an attempt to connect Yahweh to the “Indo-European deity” Jove, it is only because one is attempting to uphold the falsehoods of ‘Jewish’ and Israelite Identity as generally understood. Paul of Tarsus knew better, for which see Romans 1:18 ff. Among the languages of Europe, the “v”, “w” and “u” were often interchanged with one another, and in Hebrew, Latin and Greek represented by the same letter. Also the “v” often became a “b” (hence Ιαυε, Ιαβε here). There was no “j” in these languages, the “j” being a recent innovation. It represents an “i” in the early languages. The Latin “v” being a “u”, Jove in Latin is Iove, the equivalent of the Greek Ιουε. Josephus, at Wars 5:5:7, tells us that the name of YHVH is in Greek spelled with four vowels, and he must have had Ιουε, Ιουη or Ιαυε in mind, any of these being a fair transliteration of Yahweh. Jove is plainly equivalent to Yahweh! It has been discussed (i.e. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Classical World) that Jupiter is a contraction of the Latin “Jove, pater”, and so equivalent of “Yahweh, Father.”
It seems to me that the early Christian writers may have gone out of their way in avoiding Ιουε, or even Ιαυε, in a conscious attempt to avoid connecting Yahweh with Ιουε, (Jove), and probably for fear of the Romans! This is evident in Clement of Alexandria’s Ιαουε, since he must have known of the testimony of Josephus, who distinctly states that the name could be spelled with four vowels (and not five!)
Now returning for one final paragraph of the Britannica article:
But one theory which has had considerable currency requires notice, namely, that Yahweh, or Yahu, Yaho,1 is the name of a god worshipped throughout the whole, or a great part, of the area occupied by the Western Semites. In its earlier form this opinion rested chiefly on certain misinterpreted testimonies in Greek authors about a god Ἰάω, and was conclusively refuted by Baudissin [we will see Baudissin addressed soon, as he was also wrong about the appearance of the form Ἰάω - WRF]; recent adherents of the theory build more largely on the occurrence in various parts of this territory of proper names of persons and places which they explain as compounds of Yahu or Yah.2 The explanation is in most cases simply an assumption of the point at issue; some of the names have been misread; others are undoubtedly the names of Jews <sic. Israelites - CAE>. There remain, however, some cases in which it is highly probable that names of non-Israelites are really compounded with Yahweh. The most conspicuous of these is the king of Hamath who in the inscriptions of Sargon (722-705 B.C.) is called Yaubi’di and Ilubi’di (compare Jehoiakim-Eliakim). Azriyau of Jaudi, also, in inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser (745-728 B.C.), who was formerly supposed to be Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah, is probably a king of the country in northern Syria known to us from the Zenjirli inscriptions as Ja’di. [1The form Yahu, or Yaho, occurs not only in composition, but by itself; see Aramaic Papyri discovered at Assuan, B 4, 6, 11; E 14; J 6. This is doubtless the original of Ἰάω, frequently found in Greek authors and in magical texts as the name of the God of the Jews. 2See a collection and critical estimate of this evidence by Zimmern, Die Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, 465 sqq.] ...
This last paragraph reveals the author’s ignorance concerning certain historical facets of Scripture. The Scriptures attest that Israel had controlled Hamath and other areas north of Palestine at this point in history, for which see 2 Kings 14:28: “28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” The Israelites controlled these areas from the time of David and Solomon, had lost them to the Assyrians earlier, and Jeroboam II recovered them once again, until the time that the Assyrians invaded Palestine and finally conquered both Israel and most of Judah. So where personal names in those areas are Israelite names, it is not fanciful to imagine that they belonged to actual Israelites, and the final premise of the article is also wrong.
Now I am going to cite a paper from a mainstream academic, Albert Pietersma, who is a Professor of Septuagint and Hellenistic Greek at the University of Toronto. In 1984 he wrote an article titled Kyrios or Tetragram: A Renewed Quest for the Original LXX. Of course, like all academics he has his critics, but we will not have time, nor do we have need to address them here. In that article, Pietersma presents the more recently-discovered surviving evidence that the earliest copies of the Greek Septuagint actually represented the name of God, Yahweh, in the Hebrew characters of the Tetragrammaton, rather than by the Greek title κύριος, or Lord. He also cites the Letter of Aristeas, which provides a sort of sub-plot for his article, although the theme would be more useful if it is read in Greek than in English, and he also cites Josephus, Philo and several other early writers. He also addressed Baudissin, whom our Britannica article had cited as an authority on this subject. But Baudissin received his Doctorate in 1870 and died in 1926, so he also lacked the archaeological data which our Britannica article had lacked. Therefore in his opening paragraph, Pietersma wrote:
When more than fifty years ago Wolf Wilhelm Graf Baudissin wrote his massive work entitled Kyrios as the Name of God in Judaism and Its Place in the History of Religion (Kyrios als Gottesname im Judentum und seine Stelle in der Religionsgeschichte, published in four volumes at Giessen in 1929) he arrived at the conclusion, on the basis of his extensive, detailed and at times belaboured investigation, that the ancient LXX read kyrios as a surrogate for Yhwh, and not a form of the Hebrew tetragram, as had been maintained as far back as Origen. Since his time, however, the claim for an original tetragram, either in Semitic guise or in Greek transliteration, is being reasserted by an increasingly growing number of scholars. The reasons for the revival of a theory already espoused by antiquity’s great hebraizer [a reference to Origen] are well known. Important early Greek texts have recently come to light on both Egyptian and Palestinian soil, which give us proof positive that the tetragram was indeed employed in pre-Christian biblical manuscripts. Hence Baudissin must be wrong and Origen must be right!
Later in his article, Pietersma quoted from the early Christian writer Origen, who wrote in the early 3rd century. But the passage which he quotes from Origen is from a work which exists only in Greek and Latin, from Volume 12 of the Patrologiae Cursus Completus published in the 1860’s by Jacques Paul Migne, a French Catholic priest. This is the most ambitious effort to have ever preserved the writings of the so-called Church Fathers, of which the Ante-Nicene portion was printed in 18 volumes, and 7 of those were from the writings of Origen. The entire collection covers Christian and Catholic writers through the 15th century, and is contained in 161 volumes, a few of which also had multiple parts. This is important to note, as it shows that this work is even more voluminous than the English translations which we have in the collections of the Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers which were edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and first published in the late 19th century by T. & T. Clark in Edinburgh.
First, in Pietersma’s paper he cites relevant evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other sources, that at least some early copies of Greek scriptures employed the Tetragrammaton YHVH, or a transliteration of it, rather than the Greek word κύριος, Lord. Then he states that “Interestingly enough, as we indicated earlier, the originality of the tetragram in the LXX is not a modern theory. No less a textual authority than Origen put forth the same claim.” Then, according to Pietersma’s translation of a statement by Origen found in Volume 12 of the Patrologiae Cursus Completus, in column 1104 B, which I have been able to verify, he records that Origen had written that “In the more accurate exemplars [of the LXX] the (divine) name is written in Hebrew characters; not, however, in the current script, but in the most ancient.” So in the 3rd century, Origen had informed us of something which we can verify today in modern archaeology, to at least some small extent. But before the 20th century and the discovery of a small handful of papyri manuscript fragments in diverse places in the Middle East, Origen’s words would have to have been accepted only on blind faith, since there was no other actual evidence, with the exception of an even later writer. So in that regard, Pietersma goes on to say: “Similar statements are found in Jerome. Clearly in Origen’s estimation, Greek MSS with the tetragram written in paleohebrew were the best representatives of the LXX. There is, furthermore, evidence to suggest that Origen wrote the tetragram in his Hexapla.”
But not all early Greek Septuagint manuscripts had the Tetragammaton in Hebrew characters. Some of them transliterated it into Greek, although not in the manner that we may expect. In one Dead Sea Scroll, 4Q120, fragments 6 and 20, appears the form ΙΑΩ rather than the Hebrew form Yahweh [יהוה]. ΙΑΩ seems to represent only the first three letters of the Tetragrammaton, and would perhaps be pronounced Yaho. This is a shortened form which is evident in names Old Testament figures such as Jehoshaphat and Jehoram, where the Septuagint forms are Ιωσαφατ and Ιωραμ. We should not be bothered by that, as evidently there were differences in dialect even between Galilaians and Judaeans, and that would cause different interpretations in the way that letters would be sounded in transliteration into another language.
The letter we know as ‘H’ (aitch) is problematic in Greek, as it does not exist in that language. In Koine Greek, the words which began with a vowel may have been marked with a breathing character, rough or smooth, and the rough made it sound like the word began with the letter “H”, but the letter itself did not exist in Greek, and the character symbol was actually used to represent another letter, the vowel eta. So the lack of an ‘H’ in Greek affected the transliteration of the name which we write as Yahweh, and also of Yahshua, as well as other Biblical names such as Noah or Hagar. Some names with an intervocalic “H”, such as Ahaz, where written with a “CH”, where Ahaz became Achaz. But others, such as Rahab or Mahalaleel were not and the “H” was merely omitted.
In his final paragraph Pietersma does not come to a definite conclusion, as the evidence for the Tetragrammaton in early Septuagint manuscripts is not really sufficient to arrive at one. He only says:
Our evidence for the substitution of kyrios by the tetragram does not, at present, take us beyond the first century BC. We must therefore frankly admit that there is no sure way to link the beginnings of this process with Aristeas’ floruit. But unlike previously proposed theories, the present suggestion rests on concrete textual evidence which is traceable to well within a century of Aristeas’ day.
Now notice that he used the phrase “substitution of kyrios by the tetragram”, when in fact it seems more appropriate to us to say “substitution with kyrios for the tetragram”, as in the Hebrew, the tetragram certainly did appear everywhere that the King James Version refers to “the LORD”. But κύριος is not a translation of the Tetragrammaton YHVH. The earliest of the relatively few ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint which have been discovered by archaeologists all attest to the presence of the Tetragrammaton or a transliteration of it, where the surviving manuscripts which have κύριος are not as old.
Aside from evidence in manuscripts, there are many archaeolgical discoveries which attest to the common use of the Tetragrammaton to refer to Yahweh the God of Israel, even by ordinary people or by the enemies of ancient Israel. Among these are the so-called Silver Scrolls, the Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone, the 8th-century BC Yahweh of Hosts inscription, the 9th-century BC Kuntillet Ajrud inscriptions, and many more. But that is not our dispute here, and we only seek to establish the fact that at least some pious men of the Hellenistic or Roman periods did indeed see the importance of maintaining YHVH, the actual name of God, even in Greek editions of the Scriptures.
The fact that Judaeans began to supress the name of Yahweh in the 2nd century BC may have another witness besides the Letter of Aristeas, and that is the indirect witness of the Papyrus Rylands 458. This is a 2nd century BC papyrus in which only small fragments of what is Deuteronomy chapters 23 through 28 survive. Wherever the name of God is expected, this papyrus has a blank space. There are two separate theories which attempt to explain this. One is that wherever the Tetragrammaton would appear it was to be filled in by another scribe in ancient Hebrew letters, but the task was never completed, and another is that wherever the Tetragrammaton appears it was removed. In any event, it shows that insertion of the name of Yahweh into the manuscripts was given more than casual consideration by the scribes.
There are two surviving Greek or Septuagint fragments which have variations of the Tetragrammaton rather than the Greek word κύριος, for “Lord”, which date to the 1st century BC. They are 4Q120, a Dead Sea Scrolls copy of Leviticus, and Papyrus Fouad 266, which is a Greek fragment of Deuteronomy 31:28 to 32:7 which was discovered in Egypt. While 4Q120 has the shortened Greek transliteration ΙΑΩ, P. Fouad 266 has the Tetragrammaton in modern square Hebrew characters. Additionally, there are two Septuagint fragments which have been discovered and dated to this same period which have the Tetragrammaton written in archaic Hebrew characters, which are the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3522, a fragment of Job 42:11-12, and a group of papyri fragments from the Judaean desert which are designated as 8HevXII gr, and which contain verses from at least six of the books of the Minor Prophets.
Then there is the late 1st century Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 5101, which contains fragments of several of the Psalms numbered after the manner of the Septuagint, and also has the paleohebrew Tetragrammaton rather than the Greek word κύριος. After that, there is the late 3rd century Papyrus Vindobonensis Graecus 39777, which also contains fragments of some of the Psalms after the numbering of the Septuagint, but is in the Greek translation of Symmachus. It also has the Tetragrammaton rather than the word κύριος. So there are five copies of Greek scriptures dating to the 1st century AD or earlier, and one to the 3rd century AD, which all clearly contained the Hebrew Tetragrammaton or a transliteration thereof, rather than substituting the name of Yahweh with the title κύριος.
Some scholars argue, that because of this sound but rather thin evidence, since there are no surviving Septuagint manuscripts from such an early period which have κύριος in place of the Tetragrammaton, that it was Christians who ultimately did the replacing, begininning in the second century. Then to the contrary, at least one other academic has proposed that perhaps early versions of the New Testament books used the Tetragrammaton rather than κύριος, but there is absolutely no evidence supporting that claim. Rather, taking the words of Christ and the descriptions of Flavius Josephus concerning the name of Yahweh and its being forbidden by the Jews to be true, we have a somewhat different picture.
Flavius Josephus, a Judaean a Levite, and also a member of the party of the Pharisees, had described some of the accounts of Moses in Egypt, where he wrote in Antiquities, Book 2 that “276 Whereupon God declared to him his holy name, which had never been revealed to men before [as Josephus interprets it]; concerning which it is not lawful for me to say any more.” So we see that Josephus attests that he was not permitted by the law of the Judaeans to utter, or to write, the name of Yahweh. The Jews outlaw the act to this very day, and they make a show of it even in English by writing “G-d”, as they won’t even utter the English title God. Later, in Antiquities Book 5, Josephus was describing the mitre and other garments of the high priests and he wrote “ 235 A mitre also of fine linen surrounded his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraved the sacred name [of God]: it consists of four vowels.” Writing those words in Greek, Josephus must have meant four Greek vowels. At least 200 years before Josephus, and perhaps longer, the Letter of Aristeas was written, which is believed to be a work of historical fiction and to date from the 2nd century BC where it was passed off as a letter. It was an apology for Judaism and for the Septuagint but which also avoided use of the Sacred Name represented by the Tetragrammaton – unless, as Pietersma also pointed out, the text of Aristeas was changed by its later Christian copyists. It is also possible that some copies of the Greek preferred by the Judaeans who forbid the use of the name Yahweh were maintained, but no examples survived or have ever been found by archaeologists.
Josephus followed the “Book of Aristeas”, as he called it, in his description of the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into what had become the Septuagint, at Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. Yet Josephus, probably following Aristeas himself, failed to mention the appearance of the Tetragrammaton in the pages of the original Greek copy. That may also be accounted for in the fact that, as Josephus attests elsewhere, his use of the term was outlawed by the Jews.
So if the Jews outlawed the use of the Tetragrammaton, or even any mere utterance of the Sacred Name, we must note that the apostles of Christ evidently grew up hearing the substitute titles, κύριος or adonay on every Sabbath day that they attended the synagogues. Then Christ had told them, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 23, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” So there are no extant Greek New Testament manuscripts which have the Tetragrammaton rather than κύριος, the Jews were forbidding the use of the name, and therefore, eventually the Greek copyists of the Old Testament also started substituting the name of Yahweh with κύριος.
But Yahweh Himself informs us of the importance of calling on His Name, the name which He provided in the Old Testament, and Identity Christians should also realize the importance to do that same thing. Therefore where I read the following Old Testament passages, in order to make my point clear I will substitute Yahweh for Lord, since the Hebrew of each passage contains the Tetragrammaton in those places, and not the word Adonay. So we read in Jeremiah chapter 23 “23 Am I a God at hand, saith Yahweh, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith Yahweh. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith Yahweh. 25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. 26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; 27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.” Then in Amos chapter 6, we read “10 And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of Yahweh. ” Here we see that Yahweh did not speak well of those who would compel His people to forget His Name, and when He gave us those words, His Name was Yahweh, and it has not changed.
Then, on a positive note, we read in Psalm 20: “7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of Yahweh our God. 8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. 9 Save, Yahweh: let the king hear us when we call.” And from Psalm 68, where the King James Version preserved the shortened form found in the Hebrew: “4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.” Then in Micah chapter 4: “5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God for ever and ever.” As we said in the opening remarks of this presentation, anyone of any race or nation can worship a “god”, but it is certainly not our God, so we should distinguish Him by using His Name, and not the mere title that the heathens may also use.
Using the name, Yahweh, makes it absolutely certain as to which God we are speaking in reference, as the titles Lord and God do not mean the same thing to all of the peoples of the earth. Then again, in Micah chapter 5, in a Messianic prophecy: “2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” In Zephaniah chapter 3: “9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of Yahweh, to serve him with one consent…. 12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of Yahweh.” Then in Joel, chapter 2: “32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Yahweh hath said, and in the remnant whom Yahweh shall call.” The Scriptures certainly do seem to offer clear refutations of the use of substitute titles when we refer to Yahweh our God.
The authors of the sectarian books of the Dead Sea Scrolls were anti-Roman, envisioning a war and ultimately victory over the “Empire of the Kittim”, as they called them. It is my theory that this was the “fourth sect” of which Josephus had spoken, founded by the tax protester, Judas the Galilean, a few decades before the ministry of Christ. If this is true, and I believe that it is, then the Tetragrammaton was used in the copies of Holy Writ that were employed and perhaps even copied by this group, which also expressed antipathy towards the Pharisees and Sadducees, seeing them as traitors to Israel and agents of Rome. So it may be evident that the Tetragrammaton was maintained in Scripture by dissenters, who would not go along with the Jewish ploy to eradicate the name from society. While the apostles of Christ probably never used the Tetragrammaton in their writings, the Scriptures indicate to us that we certainly should, and we should also be hostile to the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the modern Jews of today who continue to despise and eradicate the name of Yahweh our God. Today we can use and utter the name of Yahweh, we can also be dissenters, because the scribes and the Pharisees no longer sit in the seat of Moses.
Yahweh is the name of the God of Israel, according to His Word He is only the God of Israel, and if Identity Christians understand that they are true Israel, they must realize that Yahweh is their distinct God, as opposed to all of the idols of other people, who do not have Yahweh for a God. He is the “I am” of the Exodus account, He is the “I am” of Isaiah, and He is the “I am” of the Gospel and professions of Christ. That is what’s in a name: the Truth, and therefore we must embrace the name if we are to walk in the Truth.
Thus we read in a prophecy of the last days which is evidently parallel to the Camp of the Saints prophecy in Revelation chapter 20, that is found in Ezekiel chapter 38: “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 nations shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel.” There are well over a hundred verses in the prophets where Yahweh defends His Name, and chastises those who despise it. We should follow that as an example.