God's Holy Name

"say . . . Yahweh, 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 name to all generations." -- Exodus 3:15

Also see commentaries Y1-46 and Y1-48

Use of Names of God


Each use of a name of God represents the way in which He is revealing Himself through His actions. When He is displaying mercy, He is called Yahweh. When He is displaying strict judgment, He is called Elohim. He is revealed through His Messiah as Yeshua. These names were given for our benefit and understanding (this is not exhaustive).


Elohim (el-oh-HEEM) – God Who Judges His Creation (Genesis 1:1, 4)

El Shadday (shad-DAH-ee) – God Almighty (Genesis 17:1)

El Raiy (rah-EE) – God Who Sees  (Gen 16:13, Job 7:8; see also Matthew 6:4, 6, 18)

El Gibbor (geeb-BORE) – God the Champion / Mighty One in Battle (Isaiah 10:21)


Yahweh (yah-WAY) – I Was, I Am, I Will Be / The Eternal Gracious One (Exodus 3:15)

Yahweh Yireh (yi-RAY) – The Eternal Will See to it / Will Provide (Genesis 22:14)

Yahweh Rophekha (ro-FAY-kha, kh being gutteral) – The Eternal that Heals (Exodus 15:26)

Yahweh Nissiy (nis-SEE) – The Eternal my Banner (Exodus 17:15)

Yahweh Shalom (shah-LOME) – The Eternal is Peace / Completeness / Prosperity (Judges 6:24)

Yahweh Roiy (ro-EE) – The Eternal my Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)

Yahweh Tzidkenu (tzid-KAY-noo) – The Eternal our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)

Yahweh Shammah (sham-MAH) –The Eternal is present (Ezekiel 48:35)

Yahweh Tzavaot (Tzah-vah-OTE) – The Lord of Hosts is found 286 times in the Tanach (OT)

Adonai Yahweh (usually translated “The Lord God”) is the next most-used combination-name, 279 times.

Yahweh Elohim (also translated “The Lord God”) is found 35 times. (Author’s counts)


Yeshua (ye-SHOO-ah) – Yahweh is Salvation; an angel said, “You shall call His name ‘Yeshua,’ for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Jacob said when blessing the patriarchs, “I wait for Yeshua.” (Genesis 49:18)

Moses said at the Red Sea, “Stand still and see Yeshua Yahweh!” (Exodus 14:13)


Greek: Iesous (yay-SOOS); Yeshua would transliterate into Greek as Iesoua, which is a Greek feminine form; converting to masculine makes Iesous. The name Iesous is not, as some teach, taken from the Greek god Zeus; rather, the name Zeus, the Greek god of salvation, may have its origins in the older Hebrew term shua (save us), which would transliterate and convert to Sous.


English: Jesus is a recent pronunciation. There was no “J” sound in any alphabet until the fourteenth century in England (Encyclopedia Americana). The 1611 King James Bible had no “J”: Yeshua’s name was spelled “Iesous” – a transliteration of the Greek.

[This is not intended to fault any language or translation.]



“My Name forever – to all generations”


This is Torah – the foundation:


The Eternal One, Who created everything and is Gracious to His Own, has granted us such a personal relationship that we may call Him by His Name. While many knew Him only by common terms expressing particular attributes (e.g., Almighty), we are given His unique, eternal Name that is for all people to use.


Exodus 3:15-16 – God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘Yahweh, the 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-name to all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me . . .’ ”


Exodus 6:2-3 – God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am Yahweh; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as El Shaddai, but by My name, Yahweh, I did not make Myself known to them.”


Exodus 6:7 – “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God . . .”


Exodus 7:5 – “The Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh, when I . . . bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.”


Exodus 9:16 – God told Moses to tell the Pharaoh, “For this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My Name through all the earth.”


Exodus 20: Of the Ten Commandments, the first five teach us how to love God, and the last five how to love our neighbor. The first five each contain the Name Yahweh. Not taking His Name in vain (v.7) is a commandment to use it respectfully, proper respect for God being a theme of these five.


Numbers 6:22-27 (Priestly blessing) – Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: Yahweh bless you, and keep you; Yahweh make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; Yahweh lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.’ So they shall invoke My Name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”


Deuteronomy 8:10 (Blessing after meal) – “When you have eaten and are satisfied, then you shall bless Yahweh your God for the good land He has given you.”


This is Prophecy – the application:


Isaiah 12:2-5 – Yahweh El is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His Name is exalted.” Praise Yahweh in song, for He has done excellent things; let this be known throughout the earth.


Isaiah 61:1-3 – The Spirit of Lord Yahweh is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of Yahweh and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that He may be glorified.


This is Holy Writ – the practice:


Psalm 18:49 – “I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Yahweh, and I will sing praises to Your Name.”


Psalm 89:1 – “I will sing of the lovingkindness of Yahweh forever.”


Psalm 117:1 – Praise Yahweh, all nations; laud Him, all peoples!”


Psalm 120:1 – “In my trouble I cried to Yahweh, and He answered me.”


Psalm 122:4 – “. . . An ordinance for Israel – to give thanks to the Name of Yahweh.” An ordinance is of one of the three categories of God’s commandments (judgments, ordinances, and statutes).


Psalm 135:1-3 – Praise Yahweh! Praise the Name of Yahweh; praise Him, O servants of Yahweh, you who stand in the house of Yahweh, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise Yahweh, for Yahweh is good; sing praises to His Name, for it is lovely.


This is Apostolic – from Yeshua:


John 17:6 – Yeshua prayed, “I have made Your Name known to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your Word.”


Colossians 3:16 – “Teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs are the titles of the divisions of the 150 Psalms. Paul instructs us to teach with the Psalms – which direct us (see Psalms above) to sing of Yahweh (that’s praise by definition), to cry to Yahweh (that’s worship by definition), and to give thanks to the Name of Yahweh (that’s a commandment).


This is Bible aggragate (Torah, Prophets, and Holy Writ, and Apostolic):


The Name “Yahweh” is by far the most used name in the Bible: about 7,000 times, over a period of about 1,500 years, by many different people in many different settings. This is beside all of the combination words containing the Name or its contraction (Yah). We find no complaint from God that they did not all pronounce it in the same exact way. In almost every language, the contraction “Yah” is used in “Halleluyah” – Praise Yah.


The Sacred Name is written in the Dead Sea Scrolls in ancient Hebrew script. These date from approximately 200 BCE to 68 CE.


It is found in a tenth-century Masoretic Text (Aleppo Codex), a Hebrew text generally approved for use in Judaism and widely used in translations of the Christian Bible.


We have no right to change the Word of God.

Deuteronomy 4:2 – “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your God.”

Isaiah 8:20 – “If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Proverbs 30:5-6 – “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.”


This is ancient Hebrew teaching:


The sages declare that it is “forbidden to enjoy anything of this world without a b’racha (blessing)”. Doing so is likened to stealing from the Temple of God (Tehillim 24:1).


The giving of a blessing is pronouncing God’s Name over the object – “invoking” God’s Name (Artscroll – The Laws of B’rachos, pg 46).


This is the bottom line:


We should use the Sacred Name when quoting it from Scripture; we may translate, but not purposely substitute words of a different meaning. We should use it in praise (such as in singing Psalms), in worship (as in humility being prostrate in prayer before Almighty God), and in blessings (invoking God’s Name), and in teaching others how to perform these mitzvot.


We may use the Sacred Name only as the proper Name for our God, never as a common word applied elsewhere, never in a derogatory or dishonest manner, and never in a non-serious way. The sages teach that we should invoke God’s Name in a blessing for a provision immediately preceding its use, in order to avoid using His Name in vain for something not used.


Yeshua observed the teaching of blessing God for food before eating (Matthew 14:19), and it is a Torah command to bless God for prosperity after eating (Deuteronomy 8:10). (We do not bless food.)


Treating God’s Name as Holy, and avoiding profane use, means using it properly; denying God’s people its designed use would be overriding God’s Word with man’s tradition (Matthew 15:3-9).


This is a response to objections:


Pronunciation of the Name


The Jerusalem Encyclopaedia Judaica: God, Name of –

“At least until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. the Name was regularly pronounced with its proper vowels, as is clear from the Lachish Letters, written shortly before that date.” It further states, “The true pronunciation of the Name YHVH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the Name was pronounced ‘Yahweh.’ This is confirmed, at least for the vowel of the first syllable of the Name, by the shorter form Yah, which is sometimes used in poetry (e.g. Ex. 15:2) and the –yahu or –yah that serves as the final syllable in very many Hebrew names.”


Josephus: Wars of the Jews 5:5:7  –

Josephus speaks of the Name on the High Priest’s crown being pronounced like four vowels – meaning the four letters are vowel-like, formed without closing the lips or tongue or throat. This implies enunciation.


Disuse of the Name


When God says what is His memorial Name for all generations, and further instructs us to use it, then it becomes disparaging to compare God’s instruction to the capital offense of calling a king by his first name.


Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews 12:4 (Reason for disuse) –

Josephus was born a few years after Yeshua left this earth (CE 37). He said of the Sacred Name, “concerning which it is not lawful for me to say any more”. He says the reason is superstition. This claims that it was used until superstition made it unlawful for whatever people were under that authority.


(Reason for disuse) –

Israel was established by God to be a light to all of the nations (Isaiah 42:6). Israel did not well uphold this purpose as commanded, though God’s Word has come to us through them. They went into captivity several centuries before Yeshua came. In captivity, to keep gentiles from profaning the Sacred Name, they limited its use. They even wrote the Hebrew tetragrammaton (YHVH) with the vowel pointings for adonai, which led some unsuspecting gentiles to come up with “Yahovah” – later becoming “Jehovah” (Jerusalem Encyclopaedia Judaica: God, Name of). Paul tells us that we have been shown what was previously a mystery: that gentiles are to be partakers in God’s Covenant (Ephesians 3:4-6).


Talmud: Yoma 39b (Time of disuse) –

After Simon the Just died (134 BCE), the “priests ceased to bless Israel with the Name . . .”.

This admits that the priests used it for most of 1500 years, during Tabernacle and Temple times, to bless Israel.


Talmud: Yoma 69b (Noting Ezra’s use) –

This is one rabbi’s complaint about Ezra’s action (Nehemiah 8:6) of pronouncing the Name outside the Temple: “Because ‘YHWH’ must not be pronounced outside the Temple.”


Sanhedrin 90a, Sukkah 5a & Shavuos 35a, Avodah Zara 18a (Penalty for use) –

“One who phonetically utters the Tetragrammaton loses his share in the world to come”

“So stringent is the prohibition against the use of the Tetragrammaton that one may not pronounce the letters of the Tetragrammaton in proper order, even without their vowels” “Nor is one permitted to enunciate the first two letters of the Tetragrammaton”

So now we learn the “real” unpardonable sin! And it was admittedly committed, no less, by Ezra! According to this, it would be forbidden to say “Halleluyah” or enunciate the names of many prophets, such as Eliyahu (Elijah).


Talmud: Sanhedrin 60a (Use of substitutes) –

“ ‘A blasphemer is not guilty unless he mentions the proper Name of God,’ said R. Jehoshua b. Karha”. It is further explained that this refers to execution for cursing, but if one curses using a pseudonym, he is only warned.


Matthew 23:16-22 (Use of substitutes) –

Yeshua taught that using a substitute term does not alleviate the sin of using God’s Name in vain. This seems to invalidate of the purpose behind pseudonyms (such as using “Adonai” / the Lord or “Hashem” / the Name) for the Sacred Name.


Gospels (Claimed use of substitutes) –

Various Hebrew texts indicate that Yeshua used the Sacred Name. It is written in Shem Tob’s Hebrew Gospel of Matthew 4:7, 4:10, 5:33, 21:9, 21:42, 22:37, & 22:44. The disciples are also quoted as using the Name. The DuTillet Hebrew Matthew uses a symbol to represent the Sacred Name in similar places. If Yeshua and the disciples used a substitution, it would be expected that such substitutions would be written.

The Greek copies that we now have retain minimal evidence (Compare “ego eimi” (I Am) in Greek John 18:5 and Septuagint Exodus 3:14).

“The Kingdom of Heaven” or “The Kingdom of God” can never be shown to be a circumlocution for God’s Name.


It might be noted here that Yeshua was hanged (crucified) for (purported) blasphemy (Sanhedrin 43a).


Torah trumps tradition, and Yeshua’s teaching undermines the tradition of the quoted rabbinic sect. The issue is one of the most-often repeated commandments in the whole Bible! Blessed be the Name Yahweh, forever!


Now, to put this in perspective, God said that He would exalt His Word (which became flesh) even above His Name! – (Psalm 138:2 and John 1:14). Glory be to our Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah, now and forever! – (2 Peter 3:18).

rev. 7-11-2006

© 2006  Beikvot HaMashiach

(Followers of the Messiah)