God's Name

“My people will know My name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it.” -- Isaiah 52:6

YHVH

אָ֣ז הוּחַ֔ל לִקְרֹ֖א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהוָֽה׃

Which directly translates to:

Then [men] began to call on the name of YHWH. -- Genesis 4:26 (Interlinear)

The name, יְהוָ֖ה, directly translates to the Tetragrammaton YHWH. Because the vocals are uncertain some would pronounce it as "Jehovah" ("J" pronounced as a "y") by substituting the vowel marks for "Adonai" and putting them under the letters of יְהוָ֖ה.

Others argue that "Jehovah" is incorrect because the vowels for Adonai are reversed, so they pronounced it "Yahoveh". Others argue that both "Jehovah" and "Yahoveh" is wrong because is breaks the rules of the Hebrew language and that His name should rather be pronounced "Yahweh" or just "Yah" which is the shortened version.

Even "Yahweh" is incorrect because the English language lacks certain Hebrew sounds that is required to pronounce the name like a native Hebrew speaker would. Jeff Benner, an expert on Ancient Hebrew, provide more detail on how to pronounce the name YHVH.

For this reason, I did not add my own vowels to YHVH on this website so that you can pronounce it which ever way you are comfortable with. However, I do find it important to at least differentiate from the word English "lord" to avoid confusion and to provide context of which god a scripture is referring to.

LORD

The Jewish tradition is to avoid pronouncing the sacred name at all. Therefore, some substitute the Tetragrammaton YHWH with the word "Adonai" which is translated as "LORD" or "God" in many English Bibles. Usually the translators would use capital letter "LORD" to indicate this substitution, however in the New Testament, YHVH's name is substituted with the lower case "Lord".

For example:

Let them praise the name [of the] LORD! -- Psalm 148:5 (ESV)

I am [the] LORD, that is my name. -- Isaiah 42:8 (ESV)

Sadly God's name was completely removed from the New Testament, because most English bibles even drop the capitalization which used to differentiate God's name from mortal lords for example:

Jesus answered, "The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The ***Lord*** our God, the ***Lord*** is one." -- Mark 12:29 (ESV)

Jesus was quoting the Shema:

שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ יְהוָ֥ה ׀ - אֶחָֽד׃

which translate to:

"Hear Israel, Yahweh our God Yahweh is one." -- Deuteronomy 6:4 (Interlinear)

Another example in Romans 12:19

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written,

“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

This is a quote from Deuteronomy 32:35-36

Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.
For the LORD (YHVH) will judge His people
And have compassion on His servants.

Therefore, people often confuse these words as Jesus' words.

Another example:

Paul quoted:

Therefore

go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.

-- 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (ESV)

This is possibly a paraphrased quote from Isaiah 52:11:

Depart! Depart! Go out from there, Touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD (YHVH).

-- Isaiah 52:11

Unfortunately, the word "god" could also refer to a mighty human leader or champion, an idol or a heavenly being and the word "Lord" could also refer to any human in authority or an angel. This is one of the main reasons for a lot of the so-called "mysteries" in the bible that causes confusion.

Therefore, I urge you to always study the context of scripture, because if you cherry-pick verses you may easily get confused to which "God" and which "Lord" the verse is talking about.

Lord Jesus

To further add to the confusion, God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are all addressed as "Lord" with no clear distinction to which one the author was referring. For example:

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. -- Romans 14:9 (ESV)

and

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -- 2 Corinthians 3:17

Yet they would translate Paul's words:

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; -- Ephesians 4:4-5 (NKJV)

Clearly there are now more than one "Lord" in our modern English bibles. So what could Paul have meant?

Trinitarians would be quick to point out this "proof" that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is one Lord. If this was true, then "Lord Pilate" (Matthew 27:63), the "Lord Agrippa" (Acts 26:19) and as well as all husbands (1 Peter 3:6) should also be included in the "Trinity".

Sadly, this tampering with God's name causes confusion with verses like:

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. -- 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV)

A common assumption is that Jesus is the Spirit, but Jesus himself said himself:

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” -- John 4:23-24 (NKJV)

Other lords

The Greek word "kurios" means Lord. That same word which substitutes God's name and also often refers to Jesus are also used in the following contexts:

  • Property owners (Matthew 20:8), translated as “owner” in NIV
  • Heads of households (Mark 13:35), translated as “owner”
  • Slave owners (Matthew 10:24), translated as “master”
  • Husbands (1 Peter 3:6), translated as “master” in NIV
  • A son called his father "Lord" (Matthew 21:30), translated as “sir”
  • The Roman Emperor (Acts 25:26), translated as “His Majesty”
  • The King (Acts 26:19), translated as "King"
  • Roman authorities (Matthew 27:63), translated as “sir”

That is why it is important to indicate to which "lord" one is referring. For example in a mixed community of different religions, everyone could serve the "lord" together, but each one could have a different "lord" in mind.

Knowing God's name

Moses wrote:

“But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” -- Exodus 9:16 (NKJV)

and

YHVH bless you and keep you; YHVH make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; YHVH lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

-- Numbers 6:24-27 (NKJV)

For an English reader this, make no sense because in the Western culture a name is simply a way to addressed someone. If we do not even know how to correctly pronounce YHVH, how can it be declared in all the earth or can God expect children to have the same name?

However, the Hebrew word שֵׁם ("shem") translated as "name" means much more than a simple designation. It also means character, ownership or reputation. This completely changes the meaning of the above scriptures.

Instead of teaching people what to call God, we should rather declare His character (who He is) and His authority (what He does or will do) in all the earth and teach our children to do the same.