what is His Name - if you know? by Chris Koster edited by Wilhelm Wolfaardt
We have always stood amazed and often critical at the denominations for being bound to their traditional doctrines, for their unwillingness to accept more light. In many cases, this rejection of new light is done for the sake of unity, and in the case of individuals, having the fear of being excommunicated or disturbing the unity of the assembly, loving the praise of men more than the praise of Elohim (Yoch. 12:42-43). Nobody wants to be out in the desert, all by himself. But this attitude of not accepting new light is in direct contrast with Scripture, for we read in Prov. 4:18, "But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day". (NASB). This passage is confirmed in Rev. 22:11, "... and the righteous, let him do righteousness still, and the holy, let him be hallowed still," (Marshall translation of Nestle Text). This word still (Greek: eti) is often rendered in the KJV as more or further, and has been translated in the sense of increase in Rev 22:11 in at least five different translations.
As True Worshippers, we owe it to Him, who loved us first, Who has purchased our redemption, to walk in the light as He reveals it to us from time to time. When we first met Him and accepted Him as our only Saviour, our only Leader, and our only Teacher, He said: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now." (Yoch. 16:12). He is the only One that brings more and more light in our lives, for He is our Light. If He brings more light into our lives, let us then walk therein. "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another," (1 Yoch. 1:7). We need that fellowship!
Here in South Africa, as in the United States, differences have cropped up as to the correct transliteration of the Name. These differences have been the cause of an increasing amount of embarrassment and disunity. And this has compelled us to go right back and start our search all over again. We should not only believe in our Saviour, but we should believe His Word, His Promise in Yoch. 17:26, "... and I ... will make it (Thy Name) known; that the (agape) love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them." (NASB). Are we seeking His agape love? Are we seeking this wonderful unity that He prayed for in Yoch. 17? Are we seeing the Fruit of the Light (Eph 5:9 NASB) i.e. goodness and righteousness and truth, in the Body of Messiah? If not, shall we not return to the Light of the world, and ask Him to let his light shine in his Body, even the light of the true Name, so that the agape love and the unity will become a reality in us?
The Grote Winkler Prins Encyclopedie, under the title "Jahwe" (the Dutch transliteration of Yahweh), says that the uncertainty as to the true pronunciation of the Name constantly causes embarrassment to Bible translators. This uncertainty as to the true pronunciation of the Name, although not always admitted, has been a major cause for sincere Bible scholars to remain satisfied with the traditional substitute for the Name, even although we might think that they have just been obstinate by not accepting that which we proclaim. Although we are seemingly content with the Name Yahweh, our elders to admit that we are not 100% sure. Some professor of Hebrew stated that we are 99% sure of the correctness of the form Yahweh. Many brethren and Hebrew scholars have expressed their openness to further light. But a truth that is only 99% correct cannot be the truth! If it is not 100% correct, it is a marred truth.
And we, like most of us, after ascertaining that the form Jehovah was incorrect, were content with the form Yahweh. But because of the little bit of uncertainty as to the 100% correctness, it left a gap, even though small, for the enemy to enter in and sow dissension and strife. The result was doubt, insecurity, embarrassment, dismay and discouragement. We need the Unity, we need the Love, therefore we need the Truth about His Name. And only our Saviour can reveal it! Let us open our minds to new evidence and search for more light.
From the evidence that was revealed to us, we came to the conclusion that the correctness of the form Yahweh is not 99%, but only 75%. Josephus, in his Wars of the Jews, Book 5, chapter 5, 7, was quite clear in stating that the Name "consists of four vowels." Why then do we, who freely quote this statement of Josephus, accept the form Yahweh, which contains a consonant, W? In our search we discovered that this form Yahweh, originated right back in the year 1567. In G.H. Parke-Taylor's book Yahweh: The Divine Name In The Bible, p. 79, we read that Genebrardus, in 1567, was the first to suggest the pronunciation, Jahve, largely on the strength of Theodoret's assertion that the Samaritans used the pronunciation Iabe, subsequent to the time when pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was stopped by the Jews. Bible scholars1 who made a study of the Tetragrammaton, concluded that the Samaritans were wrong with their rendering, Iabe, and Dr M Reisel states that the form Iabe is of no value. The form Iabe is of course inconsistent with Josephus' statement that the Name consists of four vowels. We can thus see how the form Yahweh started on the basis of an erroneous form, Iabe. In 1815 Prof. Wilhelm Gesenius further promoted the form Yahweh, and this is how we have accepted it, and this has become a tradition amongst us.
Let us analyse the Tetragrammaton, הוהי
Y a vowel, is equivalent to the Greek I and to the English Y. That is accepted by everybody.
H used as the second and fourth vowel. It is ah in the second letter of the Name, as is accepted by most scholars. But in the fourth letter of the Name it is eh, equal to the Greek e, which is pronounced as the e in met, because of the Greek transliteration of the Name by Clement and in the Papyri2.
W the third letter, a vowel, according to Josephus, and rendered ou in the Greek transliteration Iaoue, and should therefore be rendered as U (pronounced oo) in the English, because the Greek ou is pronounced oo.
In other words, adhering to the directive of Josephus, the Name consists of four vowels, Y, H, W, H and has been transliterated by Clement as Iaoue = I-a-ou-e, pronounced I-A-OO-E, transliterated into English as Y-AH-U-EH (and not Y-AH-W-EH).
In our search, we found that Clement's form Iaoue was supported by a form Iawouhe (Iaooue�h), which was frequently found in the Papyri2. The reason why we were inclined to consider this form Iaoue and the other Greek form is this: We realised that both the Jews and the Greeks were guilty of using a surrogate title instead of the Name. But whenever the Greeks did use the Name, they had no motivation to disguise the Name, as the Talmudic Jews were determined to do. We found that many eminent scholars, such as Field in his preface to Origen's Hexapla, state that the W (waw) has the vowel sound of a u. Apart form the influence of the erroneous form Iabe, two other factors contributed to the confusion as to the W. The first is the well known erroneous pronunciation of the waw (W), which developed among the Ashkenazic Jews on the continent of Europe. The second is the earlier inconsistency of the Latin u and v. These were used interchangeably, and only lately have they decided to use the u consistently as the vowel and the v as the consonant. (See any encyclopaedia on "u" and "v').
But the confusion and deception originated much further back with the Jews who were instructed in the Talmud to hide the Name3 and were determined that the Name must be kept secret4. This was done by substituting the Name, as we all know, but also by disguising it. Arnold, in his excellent Article The Divine Name in Exodus 3:14, J.B.L. vol. xxiv (1905), p. 144 quotes Tamid vii.2, "In the sanctuary they were accustomed to pronounce the Name as it is written; in the town BY DISGUISING IT." (capitals mine). This admission by the Jews came as an important disclosure as to their modus operandi. In other words, these Jews were determined to substitute the Name, and also to disguise it (apparently they were usually too scared to delete and substitute it completely in the Scriptures). This explained to us why the Lamsa Aramaic Bible renders Exodus 3:14 as AHIAH whereas the Massoretes vowel-pointed it to become ehyeh. This also explained to us why the early Greeks transliterated the Name as AIA (Gesenuis and many scholars concluded that the Greeks found this from Shemoth / Exo. 3:14 and because many scholars mistakenly thought that ehyeh (ahyah) was His Name at some stage). We further discovered that the Murasu tests6 from the 5th Century B.C.E. rendered the Yahwistic names starting with Yahu- instead of the Massoretic vowel-pointed Jeho-, e.g. Yahuzabad, instead of Jehozabad and Yahunatanu, instead of Jehonathan. And this finding caused us to propose that the vowel-pointing e o a under the Name, was done for the purpose of disguising, and not for the purpose of substituting the Name with Adonai, as has always been held. (We were never quite happy with the conflicting explanations as to why the e o a differed from the vowels of Adonai).
In our study of the Hebrew in the O.T., we saw that 30 of the O.T. prophets' Yahwistic names ended with -yahu instead of the commonly translated -yah (or -iah). In fact, the ending -yahu outnumbered the ending -yah about 7:3. This finding disturbed us but also intrigued us. And when we found the evidence of the Murasu texts, as stated above, we started to see a clear picture of how the truth of the W, as a u, was an important revelation as to the correct form. It became obvious to us, that these first three letters of the Name, which were incorporated into the names of these prophets and others in the O.T., were an important clue as to the true pronunciation of the Name. (In the Hebrew text the 49 appearances of the short form YAH, is rendered correctly as such in the Massoretic Text). Further, we found that scholars were intrigued with the few appearances of ani Hu (I am He) in Yesh. 41:4, 43:10, 43:13, 43:25, 46:4 and 48:12. G.H. Parke-Taylor Yahweh: The Divine Name In The Bible pp.70-78, states that "the personal pronoun Hu is virtually a surrogate for the divine Name". He also quotes P. Harner who sees ani Hu as an abbreviation of ani YHWH. We also read of the so called Trigrammaton, a shorter form of the Tetragrammaton, which is spelt WHY, which appears in the Elephant-papyri and in Mishnah Succah IV 57, transliterated as Yahu. All this evidence gives us firstly a clear indication of the pronunciation of the third letter of the full Name, W, as "u" (oo), and secondly, that the W should not be omitted, neither lose its precision, neither be neglected nor argued away. This becomes very important in the full rendering of our Messiah's Name, which up to now, has suffered injustice by our traditional Yahshua (as the result of the Septaugint's incorrect shorted form Joshua).
Further support came when we read in Dr M Reisel's book, in three places8, that the Frenchman Basset, in 1896, proclaimed the French transliteration of the Name: YAHOUE (the French 'ou" also being pronounced as "oo"), because of evidence found in the Ethiopian Apocrypha. Do we remember the Ethiopian in Acts 8:27-39 who carried the Glad Tidings back to Ethiopia, and Ethiopia calling themselves a chosen people, keeping the Sabbath up to the 17th Century, when Western "Christians" talked them out of keeping the Sabbath, and Haile Selassie being called: The Lion of Judah?
And the last two confirmatory witnesses finally convinced us;
1. In Grande Encyclopedie, under Jehovah, we read: "Yahveh ... the pronunciation is probably more exactly reproduced by writing YAHOUEH.
2. The Oxford English Dictionary under Jehovah, reads: "It is now held that the original name was IaHUeH". Unfortunately, it then continues and tries to deduct Jahveh or Yahweh from this admission that "It is now held that the original name was IaHUeH".
To summarise our documentary evidence :
1. Josephus's statement that the Name consists of four vowels, therefore W is incorrect.
2. The evidence that the Jews changed ahyah into ehyeh, and Yahu- (in names) into Yeho-, in order to disguise the Name.
3. The Old Testament's prophets' names ending with -yahu in c. 70% of cases.
4. The incorrect rendering of Yahweh which started with the Samaritan's erroneous form Iabe.
5. The scholars drawing our attention to the proposition that they make, vix the Hu (He) being a shortened surrogate of the Name, virtually an equivalent, thereby enhancing our conviction that the "u" is an integral and not-to-be-deleted part of the Name.
6. Clement's transliteration of the Name Iaoue (pronounced: Yahueh with the "eh" pronounced "e' as in "met") which is strongly supported by other Greek papyri's form Iawouhe.
7. The evidence of the Ethiopian Apocrypha, reported by Basset: YAHOUE.
8. The confirmation of Grande Encyclopedie: YAHOUEH.
9. The startling conclusion of The Oxford English Dictionary: IaHUeH.
Now that we have assurance of the Father's Name, we can easily find the Saviour's Name. All authorities, without exception, agree that Jesus was not the original Name. Most of these authorities render the original Name as Jehoshua or Yehoshua. But after the evidence we found, we can now for certain declare His Name as YAHUSHUA, because of the Scriptural proof we find in Yoch. 17:11 and 12 in all the translations, except for the KJV which used the less accurate Textus Receptus.
This revelation from authoritative sources was a confirmation of what the Spirit revealed to some of our brethren and sisters many years ago. We realised how we have resisted the guidance of the Ruach ha Qodesh, who revealed the Name Yahushua through a young little sister and her elder brother in 1942, speaking in tongues, here in South Africa. Later the Name Yahueh (Yahuweh) was revealed to another set-apart sister in the same house.
Finally, we would like to witness as to the wonderful way in which Yahuweh has blessed the proclaiming of this Truth. All the brethren who heard it here in South Africa have hitherto accepted it in a sweet spirit, which has seldom been experienced before. And now, for the first time can we look at the Hebrew spelling of the Name of the Father, and the Name of the Son, and KNOW that He has made His Father's Name known to us! We now have the peace of mind that we no longer need to argue away or suppress any jot or title from His Name, or His Son's Name. The veil that has disguised it, has been taken away. The veil that has blurred it, has been taken away!
1. Dr M. Reisel The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H., pp. 56- 58.
2. a) ibid. pp. 36-37
b) B. Alfrink O.T.S., 1948, PP. 45-46.
c) F.G. Kenyon Greek Papyri in the British Museum London 1893 I. 80 no. 46, 469 ff.
3. Pesahim 50a.
4. Kiddushin 71a.
5. Arnold The Divine Name in Ex. 3:14 J.B.L., vol. XXIV (1905).
6. a) Driver, Z.A.W. XLVI (1928) p. 12.
b) Stolper, American Schools of Oriental Research Bulletin (1976).
c) Reisel, The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H., p. 43.
d) Coogan, West Semitic Personal names in Murasu Documents.
7. Reisel , The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H., p. 60.
8. ibid. p. 38, p. 40, p. 74.
9. Eerdmans O.T.S. (1948) p. 22.