Rewriting Scripture….

And in that day shall ye say, Praise YHVH, call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people, make mention that
his name is exalted.
Isa 12:4

Bible openedIf you have read the foreword to your Bible, you already know that English-language and international translations of the Bible have purposely altered Scripture, but the translators have explained that they did it for a good reason that was honoring to God.  Frankly, I just didn’t give the matter much thought – after all, if knowledgeable people think it’s okay, it must be okay!   Right?   But a few years ago, I DID think about scripture revision, and then I read what God thinks about it.  Since then, the matter has taken on much more importance for me!

Bible openedThe issue: The King James English version and most other translations of the Scriptures have removed God’s personal Name – YHVH – and replaced it with the words ‘The LORD.’

The problem:  When we ‘erase’ YHVH from His own scriptures (and our speech) and replace His precious Name with the words “The LORD,” aren’t we defying three of His specific instructions?

First, this is merely the tradition of men and defies the clear instruction of YHVH.

Scripture tells us many times to reverently use the name of YHVH!  There are endless scriptural and extra-scriptural evidences that the Name WAS pronounced aloud – by priests and by the ‘man in the street’ – for thousands of years, but unfortunately, in response to Roman persecution (back around 125 CE), it became a custom for the Jews to avoid pronouncing the name of YHVH. [1]  The Christian church has retained and practiced this tradition of silence – hence the replacement in our scriptures of ‘YHVH’ with ‘The LORD.’

Nevertheless, there are many scriptures wherein YHVH commands us to call on His Name, pray in His Name, be blessed in His name, and be called by His Name.  Just a few of these verses are given at the end of this article.  Use of His Name is a ‘must’ for His People!

taped mouthIt is very disturbing to me that the same people who were supposed to be our teachers and protectors have removed from our mouths (and from His written Word) the very Name by which we are to be identified and blessed! (Num 6:23-25)   Y’shua (Jesus) said to such people:

Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?  Mat 15:3

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.  Mar 7:13scissors

The next insult to YHVH is that we are ‘taking away from’ and ‘adding to’ His Word, which we have no right to do – it belongs to HIM.  What we have permitted in our Bibles is not a minor transgression, according to the words of YHVH Himself….

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.   Deut 12:32

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH your God which I command you.   Deut 4:2 (NKJV)

Finally, and perhaps most distressing of all, the English word the translators and publishers chose to replace Yah’s Holy Name is ‘LORD,’ which is insulting to Him and which He has requested NOT be used in reference to Him.

LORD in Hebrew is ba’al! (Strong’s H1168).  The translators have erased the Holy Name of YHVH and have replaced it with the abominable name used to refer to the false gods of Canaan!   What an ironic joke the enemy has played on us!   AdonaiWe could at least call Him ‘Adonai’ as Scripture does… [2]

YHVH has taken note of this and makes specific mention of it in His Word:

Hosea 2:16-17 – And it shall be at that day, saith YHVH, [that] thou shalt call me Ishi [husband]; and shall call me no more Baali [Lord]. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

The primary teaching of this passage is, of course, that a day will come when we will no longer be the “slaves” or handmaidens of YHVH, but will be His Bride, so we will no longer call Him “master/owner” but “husband.”  Nevertheless, the concluding statement, and shalt call me no more Baali [Lord], makes it very clear that YHVH does not appreciate being called the English version of ba’al, the same name used for the hideous and perverted demon god Moloch and his crew.

Jer 23: 27 – Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

Are your ears offended?  hands over ears

If our ears are surprised and even a little offended when we hear the name YHVH (Yehovah/Yahweh) pronounced, and we find ourselves wanting to say “God” or “Lord” instead, then sadly, we have “forgotten His name for Baal.” His name should be a delight to our ears!

Some will object that when Scripture refers to a name, particularly the Name of YHVH, it does not always mean the name itself, but rather refers to the character and reputation attached to that name.   This is absolutely true!   In Hebrew, the name IS the person and the person IS the name.   It is for this reason that, from ancient times until today, all ‘gods’ have a personal name by which they are called, and by which their adherents identify themselves.  In eastern thought, a deity’s personal NAME sums up the person-hood and character of that deity.

When we identify ourselves merely as lovers of ‘God,’ we are not giving our Creator personal acknowledgment, and we are leaving the door open to allow non-believers to assume that we worship THEIR ‘god.’ Think about it – a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Muslim could attend almost any Christian worship service, and sing almost any hymn or join in almost any prayer, while addressing – in their own minds – their own deity!

When only titles are used, things can get very confusing. Have you ever sung along to George Harrison’s song, “My Sweet Lord,” and then realized at the very end of the song that you were worshipping KRISHNA??? What a horrible thought! Let us give honor and recognition to the TRUE GOD by using His NAME!

TheName
YHVH’s name in Paleo-Hebrew letters

When referring to YHVH, I prefer to use the terms Yehovah, Yahweh, Yah (the “poetic” form of His Name, used by David in the Psalms), El, Elyon, Elohim, Father, Abba, the Creator, or Adonai, all of which are scriptural terms and do not hearken back to paganism. The Patriarchs knew Him as El Shaddai, ‘God Almighty.’

Let me be clear on one point: His Name is not a magical formula, and pronouncing it exactly is not a requirement for honoring Him or being in fellowship with His people.

Some folks pronounce the name as Yahuwah, Yahovah, and various other pronunciations. Because of all the secrecy over the centuries, there are several proposed pronunciations.  I believe, based on recent research completed by knowledgeable Hebrew scholars with access to newly discovered ancient manuscripts, that the Name is pronounce Yeh-hoe-VAH, but I may be wrong.  I have only respect for those who are attempting to learn and use His Name, and He tells us in His word that He feels the same way.

He tells us in Psalm 44:20-21 that He knows the intent of our hearts and honors that: If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.  Nevertheless, we should do our best to honor His request that we call on His NAME, not on His titles.

You may have ‘forgotten’ (or perhaps were never aware) that ‘God’ has a personal Name, but now that you DO know, and now that you know that His Name is important to Him, I urge you to reconsider the tradition of silence and reject it.

We are commanded (and blessed) to “call upon the Name of YHVH.” Just a very few of the applicable verses are:

praying handsI will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of YHVH.   Psa 116:13

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of YHVH.   Psa 116:17

For then will I [YHVH] turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of YHVH, to serve him with one consent.  Zeph 3:9

Give thanks unto YHVH, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the people.  1Ch 16:8

And in that day shall ye say, Praise YHVH, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.  Isa 12:4

Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.   Jer 10:25

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, YHVH bless thee, and keep thee: YHVH make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: YHVH lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.   Num 6:23-25

[Y’shua speaking] For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH. [Quoting Psalm 118:26]  Mat 23:39

Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.  Isa 52:6

Thou shalt not take the name of YHVH thy Elohim in vain; for YHVH will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Ex 20:7


© John and Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2014.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to John and Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


[1]  The Roman Emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117 CE to 138 CE, deeply resented the Jews for personal, political and religious reasons.  His desire was to eradicate them from the face of the earth, and he was responsible for the deaths of over 600,000 Jews!  One of the intolerable decrees he passed forbade the Jews to teach the Torah or to pronounce ‘the name of the Jewish god’ in public.  After at least 10 important rabbis lost their lives in defiance of this decree, the leading rabbis, in an effort to protect their people, forbade the pronunciation of the Name.  They anticipated that Messiah would return very shortly and give the Jews victory over the Romans, so they expected to be able to resume saying the Name aloud in a short time.   When their expectations were not met, the tradition became a law among the Jews and remains so to this day.  Interestingly, this (and other evidence) indicates that Y’shua was perfectly free to pronounce His Father’s Name during His ministry – thankfully so, since the Jews were watching for a Messiah who would come ‘in the Name of YHVH.’  (Ps 118:26)  Had Y’shua not used the Name in His teaching, He would have been guilty of ‘adding to and taking from’ scripture, not to mention that He would not have been recognizable as Messiah.  The Aramaic and Hebrew copies of the Gospels all indicate that He did indeed pronounce the Name during His teaching.

[2] There are at least two words in Hebrew meaning ‘lord’: ba’al and adonai.  The word used by the scriptures in connection with the Name of YHVH is ADONAI, not ba’al.  However, the English translations of the OT tend to say ‘Lord’ in connection with both ba’al and YHVH.  The Greek NT scriptures translate the word kyrios (meaning ‘master’ or ‘owner’) as ‘lord’, too, so where the original scriptures make distinctions between the various Hebrew and Greek words for ‘Lord’, English translations do not.

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