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The Sacred Name Movement and its concern about the names YAHSHUA and YAHWEH

sacred nameThe big presupposition in the Sacred Name Movement is that the original documents underlying the New Testament were written in Aramaic (not Greek) and used the Sacred Names. These documents are supposed to have been destroyed by unnamed conspirators and substituted with Greek manuscripts using pagan names such as Jesus and God. If this is correct, then all of the early church fathers must also have been victims of this unfortunate conspiracy which have fooled most of the christian world (except for the believers of the SNM) because they all used the ”forbidden pagan” names such as Jesus and Lord. The fact is that people have called out to the name of Jesus Christ for almost 2000 years now and they have been wonderfully saved when the Lord answered their prayers which they have raised up to him with earnest and repentant hearts. Our relationship with the Lord depends upon the intent of our heart and not phonetics.

A short note about KJV. KJV translates the Hebrew name Yahweh with ”LORD” (capitals). ”Adonai” is translated with ”Lord” (capital L), and ”Elohim” is translated”God”. Example in Deut. 4:35 the phrase is ”The LORD he is God”, i e ”Jehovah, he is Elohim”. In the cases where Adonai is used together with Jehovah, the last word becomes ”GOD”. So the double name ”Lord GOD”  is translated from ”Adonai Jehovah”. There is a difference between Lord and lord in KJV. Early in history the israelites started to say ”Adonai” instead of  Yahweh.

Thanks to John McGlone for the following

The Sacred Name Movement (SNM) is a movement in Christianity that seeks to conform Christianity to its Hebrew Roots in practice, belief and worship. The best known distinction of the SNM is its belief in the use of a singular proper name for the God of Israel (YHVH/Yahweh) based upon the Tetragrammaton and the use of the Hebrew name they believe is the true Hebrew name of Jesus (Yahshua). They believe the Messiah’s name is YHWH pronounced, Yahwah.  Mainstream Christians and Hebrew scholars agree that Jesus’ real name was actually Yeshua. SNM believers also generally keep many of the Old Testament laws and ceremonies such as the Torah festivals and keeping kosher food laws. However, not every Sacred Name’ Group adheres to Old Testament festivals, dietary laws and other commands. The term ”sacred name” is not exclusive to this movement but is a general theological term in Christianity – a translation of the Latin nomen sacrum.

Some definitions to help clarify the issue.

Vowel points – It is widely recognized by Bible scholars that vowel points were not used in the ancient Hebrew. That leaves the consonants of YHWH alone which then makes the personal Name of God unspeakable in any tongue. This was the tradition of the Hebrews who revered God’s Name so much they chose not to speak it, thinking they may be using it in a blasphemous way. Where did vowel points come from then? The Jews themselves applied vowel points to make words like Adonai, etc. Translators through the centuries have applied a myriad of principles to numerous and complicated to describe here to apply different vowel points which have led to different renderings of Names of God in the Bible.

The ‘name’ – Gr. word onomo translated into English means ‘name’: the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc. persons reckoned up by name the cause or reason named.

Sacred name believers hold that verses like Matt 28:19, require you to hold to a singular, sacred name, ie YHWH, Jehovah, Yehoshua to be a true believer. For example:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the [YHWH] Father and of the [YHWH] Son and of the [YHWH] Holy Spirit,

Bracketed [YHWH] are obvious insertions and are for illustration only. If you were previously baptized the way Jesus instructed in this verse then according to their view you must be baptized again with the sacred name to be truly saved.
Another verse they like to use a lot Acts 4:12. Unfortunately, they ignore vs 13 which gives the context of this verse.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

So by their teachings they will insert, YHWH, Jehovah, etc -ONLY concept into the text, thus nullifying what God has communicated. The conclusion of the matter rests with the proper definition of the word, onomo. We can easily see that it also means, ‘authority’ and in that context it would make sense for Jesus to instruct us to be baptized in the authority of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We would not need a personal pronoun here considering the other definitions of the word, ‘name’. Likewise, it would also make sense that there is no other authority by which we could be saved other than God himself.

Faith or Doubt?

YHWH only believers are not putting faith in God’s Word, but calling it corrupted causing doubt and distrust.  Scripture can be shown to be reliable over and again when compared to earlier manuscript copies. Also, much of the corruption the emperor Constantine brought in led to the establishment of the Roman Catholic church and authorities to rule over the people vice serving the people as our Master has commanded. They tell us that the New Testament is corrupt wherever it speaks of Jesus, Lord, or God. They contend the name YHWH should be there instead. They will not agree that the Living God of the Bible could deliver His Word intact to today that we may understand what we should believe. Some concepts we must trust by faith and prove with evidence:

a. God has delivered His Word intact and understandable in almost every language in the world. b. The Holy Spirit teaches us all things. c. The corruption and hypocrisy in the visible church led many people away from the truth of the Bible. d. The Name of the Messiah is delivered into many hundreds of languages and God is able to communicate who that Person was and is. Lastly, we should not trust the teachings of men that cause us to doubt or negate God’s Word. We should rightly divide the Word of God that we may be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth.

2 Tim 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God

The Pharisee’s who accused Jesus would have never used the personal pronoun of YHWH while he was being plotted against or interrogated prior to his crucifixion.

Matt 26:3-5 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.

Matt 26:62-63 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

The three major languages of Jesus’ time was Aramaic, Latin, and Greek and not ancient Hebrew. Probably most people read the Septuagint as scripture vs. ancient Hebrew. This would make Jesus’ scriptural references accurate vs. the slight differences we see in the ancient Hebrew.

What’s in a Name?

According to the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, the name Ieusus (Jesus) is a combination of 2 mythical deities, IEU and SUS (ZEUS, a Greek god).” – (www.wwyd.org). I went to the link they recommended and I tracked this down to an obvious skeptic of Christianity who wrote a book called, “Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend” by J.C.J. Metford. It is no surprise to me that those who do such unscholarly work would quote a secular biased book as a source document for their views. Incredibly, the original quotation does not even line up with the final source reference which claims that Iesous means, ‘worship Zeus’.

The ”correct name” idea is refuted by the fact that three languages were being used in Israel at the time of Christ. A form of Hebrew (Aramaic), Greek and Latin were all being used. It was not usual for someone to translate something into all these languages including names. For instance, the inscription on the cross of Christ read in all three languages. Therefore this inscription many of the Jews read, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and in Greek.

John 19:20 Here is the proper definition:

Ἰησοῦς Iesous G2424 Jesus = ”Jehovah is salvation”

1) Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind, God incarnate

2) Jesus Barabbas was the captive robber whom the Jews begged Pilate to release instead of Christ

3) Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor (Ac. 7:45, Heb. 4:8)

4) Jesus, son of Eliezer, one of the ancestors of Christ (Lu. 3:29)

5) Jesus, surnamed Justus, a Jewish Christian, an associate with Paul in the preaching of the gospel (Col. 4:11)

Χριστός pronounced Kristos G5547 Christ = ”anointed”1) the Messiah, the Son of God 2) anointed

Dr. Brown is a PhD in Semitic languages which includes Hebrew and Aramaic, a Jew by birth, and a follower of the Messiah. He is a worldwide recognized authority on this subject. The following is a partial excerpt from Dr. Brown’s response to the aforesaid Britannica article.

”The response to this statement (which has as much support as the latest Elvis sightings) is quite simple: We know where the name I­­esous came from: the Jewish Septuagint! In other words, this was not some later, pagan corruption of the Savior’s name; rather, it was the natural Greek way of rendering the Hebrew/Aramaic name Yeshua at least two centuries before His birth, and it is the form of the name found in more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. This is saying something! The name I­­esous is also found in Greek writings outside the New Testament and dating to that same general time frame. Although it is claimed that the Encyclopedia Britannica says that “the name Ieusus (Jesus) is a combination of 2 mythical deities, IEU and SUS (ZEUS, a Greek god)” it actually says no such thing. This is a complete fabrication, intentional or not. In short, as one Jewish believer once stated, “Jesus is as much related to Zeus as Moses is to mice.” Unfortunately, some popular teachers continue to espouse the Jesus-Zeus connection, and many believers follow the pseudo- scholarship in these fringe, “new revelation” teachings. Not only are these teachings and practices filled with error, but they do not profit in the least. So, to every English-speaking believer I say: Do not be ashamed to use the name JESUS! That is the proper way to say his name in English—just as Michael is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mi-kha-el and Moses is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mo-sheh. Pray in Jesus’ name, worship in Jesus’ name, and witness in Jesus’ name. And for those who want to relate to our Messiah’s Jewishness, then refer to him by His original name Yeshua—not Yahshua and not Yahushua—remembering that the power of the name is not in its pronunciation but in the person to whom it refers, our Lord and Redeemer and King.”

There must be some understanding of transliteration and translation as the Bible has been translated into thousands of languages but must on occasion where there are words that do not exist from one language to the other a transliteration must be made of that word. In that case, letter by letter the corresponding word is formed into the new language making a new word in that language that did not exist before. One example I will use is the Yehovah – Jehovah problem which sacred name believers use to point out the ‘errors’ of the Bible. In Latin Yehovah is translated as Jehovah but they will use that and say, ‘Look there was no ‘J’s in the Hebrew language so Jehovah and Jesus could not be true.’ The problem with that is of course there are J’s authorized for use in Latin and English.

Conflicts in the argumentssacred name2

From the YHWH point of view the Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 7:14 and Matt 1:22-24 must be corrupted. We can see that this brings conflicts between the scriptures which must be explained away by this system of unbelief. The book of Isaiah was written approx 700 B.C. This is an awesome fulfillment of God’s Word from the OT to the NT providing evidence of our faith to believers and skeptics alike.

Is 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. [meaning God with us]

Matt 1:22-24 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”, which is translated, “God with us.”

These prophecies fulfilled reveal the errors of sacred name theology.

Is 9:6For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

In this passage we see a multitude of names listed and the passage actually calls it, ‘His name’. Notice that His name WILL BE…that is future tense, which they refuse to acknowledge. The defenders of this doctrine will say those are just titles, but why doesn’t the Bible say, ‘And His titles will be called…’ They will often use this passage as the bulwark for their belief, inserting YHWH into this verse.

Is 42:8 I [am] the LORD, that [is] My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.

LXX Is 42:8 ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεός τοῦτό μού ἐστιν τὸ ὄνομα τὴν δόξαν μου ἑτέρῳ οὐ δώσω οὐδὲ τὰς ἀρετάς μου τοῖς γλυπτοῖς

In this passage, we see in the Hebrew transliterated Yehovah which we see has great similarity to YHWH. Sacred name proponents will insert YHWH into this text. But you can see by the Greek Septuagint written 250 B.C. the word is κύριος, which means Lord. How could the Septuagint have a name in the text 250 BC when the ”corruption” did not happen until 325 AD according to the SNM view? That is an incredible 575 years of difference.

Exodus 3:13-15 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

In this passage God is calling Himself in the Hebrew: H1961 hayah hayah הָיָה. This is a personal pronoun defined as, always existing being. This word also matches the definition of Jehovah or Yehovah as always existent One. So there is no problem with either the words or the definitions. Logically, we can see that though they are different languages or translations they have the same meaning, thus the same name. How can any finite creature of God name the one who is eternal? Essentially, most of these ‘names’ given in the Bible are descriptions of God. When He is named it is by His hand within the Bible not ours.

Rev 19:12-13 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Here we see that God has an unknown Name and another name called the Word of God. Which in the G3004 λόγος and is defined as Logos : denoting the essential Word of God – Jesus Christ. We see this personal pronoun for Jesus again in John 1:1. Just these two verses should be enough to convince anyone that YHWH only is inconsistent with the Bible. The answer they will always give when faced with such evidence from the Bible is these verses were corrupted by Constantine. We have already proven is a false presumption. This of course refers to this system of doubt of God’s Word instead of faith or trust in the same.

Rev 19:16 And He has on [His] robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Here the word King is Baseloose G935 βασιλεύς and means prince, leader of the people, commander, lord of the land. The word LORD G2962 (all caps) is Koorios κύριος and means:

1) he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord a) the possessor and disposer of a thing 1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master. 2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah.

The obvious deduction here must be that God has used many names throughout the history and languages of mankind. After all, God created language and He confused languages at the tower of Babel. He also gives us the intelligence to translate/transliterate between languages that we may have the understanding in communication. The teaching of a particular ancient Hebrew ‘sacred’ name as the only way to pronounce and believe upon His name is false as we have shown and contradicts the Bible in many places. This causes a stumbling block for both believers and unbelievers alike.

Lastly, I would say that it is not a problem if a believer desires to use the Name of YHWH. It becomes problematic and unbiblical when someone says that this is the only authorized name for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.