You have surely noticed that throughout my blog, I use the letters “YHVH” to refer to the Creator of the Universe, our Heavenly Father. His name in Hebrew is spelled יהוה. A very accurate pronunciation is “Ye-ho-VAH.”
While He has many titles that describe His character and attributes (God, Elohim or Mighty One, Provider, Lord and Master, Creator, etc.), He revealed that His Name is only YHVH.
“Then Moses said to God, ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they say to me, “What is His name?” what shall I say to them?’
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”‘
In our English Bibles, this is a strange name indeed! It makes more sense in Hebrew, where יהוה means “I am” or “eternal one.”
“Moreover God said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “YHVH 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, and this is My memorial to all generations”‘” (Exodus 3:13-15).
Even though His Name is YHVH, and He clearly states that He wants His Name to be remembered for all generations, there seems to also be an eternal plot for His Name to be wiped out and forgotten.
In your English Bible, His name is translated as “the LORD.”
“How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Ba’al” (Jeremiah 23:26-27).
His name is not Adonai, or “Lord,” as we have been taught. It is not “Ba’al,” which also means “Lord” or “Master.”
The Jewish sages forbid the Jews to say the name of YHVH, or even to make oaths in His true name. The Old Testament is filled with countless uses of YHVH, so many scholars think that the practice of not pronouncing the True Name began during the Jewish exile in Babylon.
“You shall fear YHVH your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name” (Deuteronomy 6:13).
“You shall fear YHVH your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name” (Deuteronomy 10:20).
It seems someone forgot to tell King Solomon not to use the Name of YHVH, for during the dedication of the new Temple in Jerusalem, Solomon mentioned using the name of YHVH thirteen times alone! (See 2 Chronicles 6.) Solomon expressed the importance of YHVH’s name as he prayed,
“If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and return and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to them and their fathers.
“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance” (2 Chronicles 6:24-27).
One of the reasons why we are to use His name is so that we are careful He receives all the credit for the amazing and mighty deeds He has done, not only among believers but before all the world!
“Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name” (2 Chronicles 6:32-33).
When YHVH fulfills His promises in the future, it is so that all people will know His name, so that He will be famous in the Earth. In fact, to give credit for His works of creation or redemption to any other person or god is to blaspheme, or slander, His Name.
“And all day long my Name is constantly blasphemed. Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I” (Isaiah 52:5-6, NIV).
We need to make it very clear in every word and action that we serve only one God, and that the one whose name is YHVH is the one who saves us.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation” (Psalm 91:14-16).
When we call upon the true God, using His true name and placing our faith and hope in His mercy, we bring Him honor and glory in our lives.
Someday, all people on Earth will do this!
“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of YHVH, to serve Him with one accord” (Zephaniah 3:9).
We don’t have a pure language at the moment. Ever since the rebellion of mankind at Babylon, our languages have been confused.
Satan would love to see humanity or false gods get the credit for what the Creator has done. How should the people of YHVH respond?
Abraham gives us an interesting example of how special the name of our Creator is. Genesis 14 tells us of a war between the idolatrous kings of Shinar. When Abraham’s nephew lot was captured, God helped Abraham fight and win a mighty victory, rescuing the lives of many people and saving much property. After the battle,
“The king of Sodom went out to meet [Abraham] at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.
“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed [Abraham] and said:
“‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand'” (Genesis 14:17-20).
Notice Abraham’s response and how he made sure that everyone present knew exactly who “God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth” really was:
“I have raised my hand to YHVH, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth…” (Genesis 14:22).
As in all other forms of idolatry, most people have the best of intentions even if they don’t use YHVH’s true Name.
For instance, by the time of King David, the Israelites had started to mingle true worship with the idolatrous worship of the Canaanite nations around them. Even as they started to muddle things up, it seems they truly intended to worship only YHVH.
One of David’s mighty men had an odd name: Bealiah or B’elyah. It meant, “YHVH is Lord (master),” or in their language, “Yah is Ba’al.”
One Old-Testament scholar writes,
“The Israelites didn’t abandon the worship of the one true God in favor of the Canaanite deity, Ba’al. What they did was much more subtle and far more insidious. They referred to YHVH as ‘Ba’al,’ mixing the worship of the true God with the false worship of the Canaanites.”
In the book of Hosea, we read an interesting prophecy that doesn’t make much sense in English. However, when we know the Hebrew words used, it suddenly becomes quite clear.
“‘And it shall be, in that day,’ says YHVH, ‘That you will call Me ‘My Husband’[Hebrew, Ishi], and no longer call Me ‘My Master’[Hebrew, Ba’ali], for I will take from her mouth the names of the Ba’als, and they shall be remembered by their name no more'” (Hosea 2:16-17).
When we call the Creator by the name of Adonai or LORD, we are saying “Ba’al,” which simply means “Master.” However, Scripture tells us that there will be a day when He removes “the names of the Ba’als” from our mouths and causes us to use His true Name.
Best of all, we can call our Messiah by His true name, which is Yeshua (pronounced “Yah-SHOO-ah”). His name means “Yah is salvation.”
An angel of YHVH appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.’
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by YHVH through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:20-23).
The beauty of our Savior’s name is that He is God Himself, come down to earth to redeem us from the idolatrous fall of Adam and Eve.
“Who has ascended into heaven, 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 know?” (Proverbs 30:4).
I’m not telling you to argue with other believers over how to pronounce things, or even over what His Name should be called. The prophets tell us YHVH Himself will purify our languages and remove the names of false gods from our mouths. We can patiently wait for the move of the Spirit in other people’s hearts, gently sharing what we have learned but not banging them over the head with Truth.
It is a comfort to see that when all is said and done, people from every nation and language will give praise to Yeshua, the Lamb of God.
“They sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy… for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” (Revelation 7:9-10).
We know that He will restore all things. It’s exciting to think that this prophecy is coming true now and in our time!
 Genesis 11:1-4
 1 Chronicles 12:5
 Gordon, Nehemia, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence (Hilkiah Press, 2013), location #777, Kindle file.
 Isaiah 7:14
All Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Beth Werner Lee says
Thank you for this meditation, Anne. I learned also (through Ann Voskamp’s blog perhaps) that YHWH could be pronounced with the breathing in (Yah) and breathing out (Weh) so that we can say His Name as we breathe.
Yet, I often forget the power of the name! Thank you for bringing it back to my attention.
Oh, and a small correction came to me as I read, “seems to be an eternal plot:” okay it seems, but it isn’t eternal!! As you go on to say, he will purify our language, and as you don’t say, he has promised to bring all knees to bow at the name of Yeshua. (Phil. 2:9-11) Thank you too for your spirit of quiet dependence upon God to lead and teach his people who seek him.
Thank you so much!