Have you seen this word YHWH in Christian writings? Have you heard this word Yahweh in Christian songs? Where do YHWH and Yahweh come from?
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There is one reason why, when you (as a Christian) see these words: (on screen YHWH ... Yahweh), they should set alarm bells ringing.
These words do not appear anywhere in the New Testament. There is no form of them in the New Testament, in the original writings in Greek. Yet, these days, the words are sometimes found in worship songs. They pop up in sermons. That should concern you. They aren't New Testament words. They aren't words that were part of any expression of Christianity until recently.
Where do the words come from ... YHWH, and then a made-up word, made by adding invented vowel sounds, and coming up with YAHWEH?
Sincere, but misguided believers have latched onto this word out of the Old Testament, spelled YUD HEH VAV HEH in Hebrew. The word occurs more than 6,800 times in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament.
When Jews, the people to whom the Old Testament writings were delivered, come to this word, they don't try to pronounce it. They recognize that the word is a hint of the real name of God, so they say,simply, HaShem … which means “The Name” in Hebrew.
Why “The Name”? Because to Jews, this word is unpronounceable. If it was meant to be spoken out then, if anyone could come up with a way of pronouncing it, it would have to have been Jews themselves. But no. Surely that tells us something?
HaShem. The Name. Isaiah, the prophet, wrote: “My people shall know My name.” (Isa 52:6) What's implied? Jews didn't have a name to call on. But, one day, they would have. Ha Shem … The Name.
However, the usual way of applying a word to these letters, for Jews, has been to say: “Adonai”. “Adonai” means LORD in Hebrew.
In other words, Jewish practise, for centuries before Jesus, and during the time of Jesus on earth, was to acknowledge that these four Hebrew letters represented the One who is the LORD of heaven and earth … the One who is in control … the One to whom everyone would one day bow. Adonai ... The LORD.
When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, about 250 years before Jesus, and the Jewish translators came to this word ... YUD HEH VAV HEH ... they used KYRIOS. Kyrios means LORD in Greek.
That tells us clearly how Jews thought about the meaning of this word.
When the Jewish disciples of Jesus wrote the gospels, and letters, that became the New Testament, they wrote in Greek, because Greek was the most widely-spoken language in the world at that time. When they quoted from the Old Testament, and this word was in the text, they used the Greek word KYRIOS. Kyrios means LORD.
The message of the New Testament is that Jesus has come. And Jesus is the LORD.
The Jewish apostles effectively announced to their fellow Jews: This mighty God who is referred to throughout the Old Testament, this One who you only know as Adonai, the LORD, this is Him. His name is Yeshua. Yeshua means: “He will save”, in Hebrew.
When the apostles broadcast the good news of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, who is able to save everyone who calls on His name, they wrote in Greek, because Greek was the most widely-spoken language in the world at that time. Matthew recorded how the angel of the LORD announced: “... you shall call His name ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21). Yeshua in Hebrew was transcribed as ΙΗΣΟΥΣ in Greek.
When the New Testament was translated from Greek into English, and other languages, ΙΗΣΟΥΣ was transcribed as JESUS. We English speakers say Jesus, because we have a unique way of saying this letter … “J” … Jesus. A Spanish speaker would say Jesus (Hésous). A German speaker would say Jesus (Yesous). Same spelling, but different pronunciations. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's only to do with the phonetics of different languages.
Jesus is Saviour, and Jesus is LORD, for people of every tribe and tongue. We receive Him in whatever language we understand.
Yeshua became ΙΗΣΟΥΣ which became Jesus. We are proclaiming the same LORD … the one and only Saviour. Why toy with any other name? If you speak English, proclaim “Jesus”.
This Yahweh business is nonsense. Let's learn from the history of the Jehovah's Witnesses. They turned the Hebrew letters YUD HEH VAV HEH into English letter equivalents … JHVH ... and then added made-up vowel sounds and came up with the word “Jehovah”. The Jehovah's Witnesses don't deny Jesus, but they've moved their emphasis away from Him and onto the word Jehovah, and they've drifted away. They have become an exclusive sect.
It's not helpful to make the same mistake … to take the letters YUD HEH VAV HEH and use other alternative English letter equivalents YHWH and then add made up vowel sounds and come up with a new word … “Yahweh”. Surely we don't need another Yahweh sect! Be careful … it could happen!
It takes people away from the power of the name of Jesus. There is only one name by which we may be saved: Jesus.
This is a serious matter … more serious than you may think. Get the word out … share this video.
And this sums up my concern: Psalm 127 verse 1 says: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain who build it.”
The LORD is to build a house, the household of God. If anyone else builds, or attempts to build that house, their efforts are futile. They are wasting their time. Their work will be undone.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain ...” That's how it's been translated in many English Bibles. Here it is in the original Hebrew (on screen). It's this word: YUD HEH VAV HEH … that's translated as “The LORD”.
It needs to be crystal clear in every believer's mind … Jesus is the LORD. It is Jesus who is building His house. Jesus … not Jehovah … not Yahweh … Jesus. Let's keep our eyes on Him.
With understanding of Hebraic thought, and awareness of design elements in the Scriptures, we take a journey of growth in Christ Jesus.
The seminar “Bringing sons to glory” starts with Session 1: “You are gods” What did Jesus mean? ... and continues through the Psalms of Ascent.
This series will increase your knowledge of biblical Hebrew.