From LORD to Yahuwah

How We Get There

    And Mosheh said to Elohiym, "Behold! I come to the sons of Yisra’el and shall say to them, ‘The Elohiym of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they shall say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say unto them?" {14} And Elohiym said to Mosheh, "I AM THAT I AM." And He said, "Thus shall you say to the sons of Yisra’el, I AM has sent me to you." Shemot (Exodus) 3:13-14

The Importance of Using the Correct Sacred Name of Yahuwah
In most English versions of scripture in the book of the Creation, B'ereshiyth (Genesis), the word "God" is used to describe the One doing the creating. The Ibriy (Hebrew) word rendered as "God" in the first two chapters of that book is elohiym. Elohiym does not mean god, God, or GOD, but simply implies a "divine being" of some sort, and in fact it is a plural word. (The actual meaning of the word is "mighty one.") Pagan "gods" are described in scripture with this same word. The singular word is Elowahh, and both of these titles are derived from the root "El."

The English word "god" is actually derived from the name of a pagan "god" too. For us to use it or any other pagan name or title to describe the Creator of all is in direct violation of His third commandment.

The usual rendering of the statement in the third commandment seems to say to not use His name "in vain," which would indicate from the English usage that we should not use in an "empty manner," such as in a curse or in a profane phrase, although that is not the underlying intent of the term. The Ibriy word rendered as "in vain" in this passage is shaw which has a better meaning in the context of this passage as not being used in a "desolating" manner. By hiding the true name of the One who said that with a pagan title such as "God" or "LORD" we have definitely "desolated" the name and so have violated not only the letter of this commandment but its spirit also.

He gave His name over and over again in scripture, along with such qualifying phrases as, "this is My name forever," "My name for a memorial for all generations," "they will know my name is . . ," etc., that will show the truly honest seeker of His face that He desires to be addressed by the name He gave us and not by some pagan substitute.

Besides all that, He says the only way to salvation is through "calling on His name." How can you call on a name that you do not know? How can you call on His name when the name you speak is that of a pagan deity and not His name at all?

    Howshea' (Hosea) 2:16-17 And it shall be in that day," says Yahuwah, "you will call Me 'My Husband' and no longer call Me 'My Lord' for I will take from her mouth the names of the pagan deities and they shall not be remembered by their name anymore.

    Who has ascended up into the sky, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name and what is His Son's name, if you can tell? -- Proverbs 30:4

The Scriptural Revelation of His Name as Yahuwah
In that same book of B'ereshiyth and throughout scripture, the word disguised as LORD (all uppercase) most of the time is garbled from the true name of our Creator on Whom we must call. The first time His name, spelled YHWH (left-to-right), appears in scripture is in B'ereshiyth 2:4. Later on (Shemot 6:2-3) He made a statement and asked a question. "And Elohiym spoke to Mosheh and said to him, "I am Yahuwah. I appeared to Abraham, to Yitschaq, and to Ya'aqob, as El Almighty, but by My name Yahuwah was I not known to them?" He also says that He was known as El Shadday (garbled into English as Almighty God). The use of His name El was not only by the persons He mentioned when He gave that information either, but is also indicated by the actions of the people who inhabited that entire area. In their personal names the names of their national deity was often included as part of someone’s given name. It can be seen through the extensive use of His name El in their personal names that He was very apparently their national deity just as He became the Elohiym of Yisra’el. Failure to obey His precepts by those people is why He turned them out from the land and gave it to the descendants of Abraham.

The name Yahuwah (YHWH) is more descriptive of His power than the name El too, and I suspect that is why He gave it as such to Mosheh. But that is only supposition on my part as there is no scriptural evidence to support the statement.

The reason I make that statement is the root and meaning of the name Yahuwah. Its root is the verb "hayah," pronounced haw-yaw, and it literally means, "to exist." This is the word rendered in the opening verse of this article as AM. When He said, "I AM," He literally said, "I exist because I exist." He gave no explanation and there is none needed. The statement is self-explanatory. He exists because He exists, which means that He is the "self-existent," unlike us who exist only because He causes us to exist. This is another reason to call Him by the name that He gave to us for that purpose.

Note that all of the Semitic tribes had this same habit of putting parts of their Elohiym’s names into their personal names. So when you see a name such as Nergal Shar'etser (rendered as Nergalsharezer in the KJV) in scripture or anywhere else, you can know that this person’s name included the name of his parent’s, or country’s national, deity, which in this case was Nergal or Mars. It seems that by putting a deity’s name on a person it was thought that some attribute of that deity would be transferred to the person.

The Yisra’eliy (Israelite) names that end in "–el" are done the same way, for the same reason, and have some meaning associated with El Shadday (el shad-dah'ee). Note that this personal name ending of "-el" was very common from B'ereshiyth to Shemot and the English endings "-iah" or "-yah" were not. This use of the second ending did not start until after the exodus from Mitsrayim (Egypt). Both of those endings are rendered from "yod-heh" which MUST be rendered as "yahu" or "yahuw" (yah-hoo) in English to be accurate. Also "Yahu-" does not appear before the exodus but became a very common part of names afterward (to see a list of all the "yod-heh" names in scrpiture, see the article Yahuw Names in Scripture). Note also that He was often called by the name El later on in scripture too, even after His revelation of His name as Yahuwah.

It may be more difficult to see the "Yahu" inclusions in a name of scripture due to the deliberate disguise of the name of our Creator that was perpetrated by rabbinic tradition after the captivity in Babel (Babylon). After the return from that captivity, the correct name of our Creator was used less and less in public meetings and even in the synagogues. Rabbinic tradition was the culprit in turning His name into one of "ineffability." The idea of a name being ineffable (not to be spoken aloud) was probably derived from the pagan belief that a deity’s true name was not to be spoken publicly because it was supposed to obligate that deity to perform some act for the person who spoke it.

The name Yahuwah appears in the Ibriy scripture over 6500 times and should also appear many times in the Greek scripture. But in the Greek, the words theos and kurios have been substituted instead. Both of these words are titles, just as "god" and "lord" are titles, and are definitely NOT the name of the Creator.

Languages and Transforming Them
A couple of things that need to be understood before we go further is that the letter "J" is a relatively recent addition to the English language (circa 1500 CE) and has never appeared, with its form or sound, in either the Ibriy or the Greek languages, which are the languages of scripture. (Aramaic [Kasdiy or Chaldean] appears in scripture too, but it is so similar to the Ibriy that for the purpose of this article it can be considered as Ibriy.) So all of the names you see in scripture that have the letter "J" in them have been garbled by translation instead of being transliterated, as all personal names should be.

To translate a name (or word) is to render its meaning in a different language. In doing this, usually the original sound and spelling are lost. This is NOT done with personal names, now or at any time in the past. Names are always transliterated, which means that the letters of the original name are substituted with the equivalent letter of the new language so that the sound of the name is retained in the transfer. Occasionally there is no equivalent letter in the new language and so a sound is either lost or garbled in the transliteration. This also happened to many scriptural names.

Another thing to consider is that in the Ibriy language of old all of the letters were consonants. After a time, some began to be used as vowels also, and in the 1st century CE a sect called the Masoretes developed a "vowel pointing" system for scripture so that correct pronunciation of the language would not be lost. These "vowel points" could be added to the words in scripture without disturbing the spelling of the word itself, and so was not considered to be an alteration of scripture.

Many scholars believe that the Tetragrammaton, or four-letter name (YHWH), should be pronounced as YAHWEH (yah-way). Some others have settled on Yehovah or Yehowah due to the vowel pointing of the name by the Masoretes.

The vowel pointing of the Tetragrammaton unhappily was done in the strict rabbinic tradition of not speaking His name aloud. Therefore, the vowel points of the title "adonay" were inserted in YHWH to remind the reader to say that word aloud (which means master or sovereign) instead of the true name of the Creator. This was a deliberate disguise by the Masoretes of the Creator’s name that was carried over into the names containing parts of His name also, such as those beginning with "Yah-" and "Yahu-." Later on, the translators, who apparently were not aware of the rabbinic restriction and the disguise placed by the Masoretes, transliterated the name Yahuwah with the installed vowel points, and arrived at Yehovah or Yehowah. Later on, after the arrival of the letter "J" in the English language, the Y was modified to J and became "Jehovah." All of these renderings were incorrect for obvious reasons and not the correct name of the Creator.

Some of the personal names containing "Yah-" or "Yahu-" were not modified by the Masoretes and those few names help point the way to the real name of the Creator. Also, an acceptable abbreviation of His name is found in scripture and it is a valuable clue to the correct pronunciation also. That abbreviation is YAHH (with vowel pointing) and shows that the first two syllables of His name could be pronounced in that manner.

Once that Masoretic disguise is penetrated, many personal names become clear, not only in their correct pronunciation but also in their true meaning. Names like "John" that is really Yahuchanan (note the "Yahu-" beginning), which means "Yahuwah favored," or "Isaiah" which is really YashaYahuw, which means, "saved of Yahuwah," and "Joshua" which is really Yahushua and means "Yahuwah’s salvation."

In the English renderings of certain names that end in "-ah" or "-yah," most of the name has been totally garbled by the translators into something that bears no resemblance to the original name as it is pronounced in the Ibriy. For instance, the name Zechariah in Ibriy is ZekarYahuw (remembered by Yahuwah), Nehemiah is NechemYahuw (consolation of Yahuwah), and so forth. The "-ah" or "-yah" ending is really the first and second syllables of the name of our Creator, pronounced "yah-hoo." Based on these pronunciations, I have come to the conclusion that the "hoo" sound should probably be in the abbreviation also, and would have been had the Masoretes not incorporated their disguise, as it is the abbreviated name that ends these personal names. That conclusion is arrived at through my deductive reasoning, however, and is not shared by all that read it.

Knowing that the Ibriy language almost always follows a consonant sound with a vowel sound, that leaves the final syllable to be determined. I believe the final syllable is "wah" which therefore makes His name Yahuwah (yah-hoo-wah’). This not only fits the Tetragrammaton but also the rules of grammar as I know them for the Ibriy language.

More evidence of this is that one of the tribes of Yisra’el has a name directly derived from His name. That tribe is Yahudah from which our Savior Yahushua sprang. Note the "yah-hoo" sound. This is the tribe of our Savior and it is called "the tribe bearing My name" by Yahuwah.

The name was given by Le’ah to her fourth son, as seen in B'ereshiyth 29:35

    And she conceived again and bore a son and said, "Now I will praise Yahuwah." Therefore she called his name Yahudah. Then she stopped bearing.

And finally:

    And moreover Elohiym said to Mosheh, "Thus shall you say to the sons of Yisra'el, 'Yahuwah, the Eloah of your fathers, the Eloah of Abraham, the Eloah of Yitschaq, and the Eloah of Ya'aqob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever and this is my memorial to all generations.’" Shemot 3:15

Extra-scriptural Evidences
Below are some inferences about the correct pronunciation of the letter sequence yh in the Ibriy scripture. Keep in mind that these are not definite proofs but are intended to demonstrate various secular supports for the correct pronunciation Yahuwah.

People of the Yisra'eliy community around the world of today regularly pronounce names that end in the letter sequence yh, such as that of the ex-Prime Minister of Yisra'el Minister, Mister NetanYahuw, with the same ending sound that should be applied to scriptural names that end in a like manner, such as YirmeYahuw, YashaYahuw, etc. These names are usually rendered in English with an "iah" or "jah" ending (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Elijah, etc.). You will also hear some of those scriptural names properly pronounced by members of the Yisra'eliy community.

History is replete with the sound "yah" or "yahoo" being incorporated into the names of the deity of localized and separate populations all around the world. This is seen most especially in the Polynesian and other South Pacific island tribes, although it also applies to peoples in very widely separated areas that encompass the entire globe.

From archeological evidence found in the Syrian village of Ras Shamara, namely some clay tablets from the seventh or eight century before the common era, the name YAHU was noted as being the deity of the land to the south of that country. He was also called El and was noted to be the Supreme Elohiym, Creator of all that exists. The land that lies just south of Syria is Yisra'el.

Islamic written tradition from the time of their "prophet" muhammad shows that the name of the "Jewish God" sounded very much like "YAHU."1 The muslims who wrote this tradition heard this name from their Yahudiyith (Jewish) slaves and captives.

The sound (or word) "yahoo" is often applied and used as an ejaculative expletive. It is typical among mankind for the names of their deities, right or wrong, to be used in this manner (EX: The phrase JESUS CHRIST is used commonly as an ejaculative expletive in all English speaking countries). I have even heard an anecdote about a little boy in England, right after a Sunday School lesson, asking his mother why "Mary" had named her Son after curse words.

Most of the items above have been gleaned from the study of world history and just paying attention to various components of today's news reports. To see some substantiation of the Item #4 above, download the application "Torah Reader" from the Resources page. It lists the books of the TANAKH with their modern pronunciations and is a very handy little addition to the seeker’s tools.

1. Dictionary of Islam, page 227, Thomas Patrick Hughes, 1886 - ISBN 0-935782-70-2

C.F. Castleberry