The Name יהוה

“The Name of  יהוה  is a strong tower: a Tzadik runs into it, and is set up on high.” Mishlim 18:10

Elohim, God The Creator, has a name.  He tells us what it is. It is not ‘Father’, though He is known to us as “Our Father/Avinu”. It is not “God,”, though He is known to us as God. Similarly, a child knows his father as “Dad”, but they also know his given name and surname, and use it to secure legal rights. God, Our Father, told us what His Name is, for that same purpose.

” יהוה , the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitz’khak, and the Elohim of Ya’akov, has sent me unto you; this is My Name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.”

This Name is rooted in the verb “to be” in Hebrew, and effectively transitions all tenses. “Was, Is, Will Be”, hence, He is the ETERNALLY EXISTING ONE: יהוה .

We in the Messianic Peshitta Fellowship do say His Name. We understand that many in the Messianic Jewish community do not, and will not. They adhere to the teachings of the Pharisees/Rabbis. We adhere to Yeshua’s teaching and example only. We are “Peshitta,”, because we read the Aramaic Peshitta text as our primary source for Brit Khadashah/Renewed Covenant scriptures. Those scriptures show us that Yeshua declared the NAME, יהוה , to Yisra’el. He prayed using that Name. That Name was given to Him when He arose from the dead. And His followers, the Shlikhim and Talmidim, all declared His Name when they began to preach the gospel. We know this by scripture. The Aramaic language is the only language in all the world that has a word equivalent to יהוה , and it is מריא , “Maryah”. Several renowned scholars agree this was used exclusively for His Name in and before the 1st century: מריא = יהוה . We concur, and we believe context bears it out.

For some citations in scripture where The Name is critical:

‘Shema, Yisra’el,  יהוה  Eloheinu,  יהוה  Ekhad! [Hear O Yisra’el,  יהוה  is our Elohim,  יהוה  is One].  30And you must love  יהוה  your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your might;’ this is the first mitzvah.  31And the second is like unto it, ‘You must love your neighbor as your own nefesh.’  There is no other mitzvah greater than these two.”  Yokhanan-Markos 12

“He said, “What do you say concerning the Mashi’akh, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “Ben David.”  43He said to them, “How is it then that David, through HaRu’akh, calls Him  יהוה ? For he said,       44‘ יהוה  said to My Adon, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’ ” Matai 22

In both of the above passages, Yeshua is speaking, and He is both citing scripture and commenting on it, and He uses The Name. This Name was given to Yeshua, just as He said to His Father in prayer [Yokhanan 17:11], and as Kefa declared:

36Therefore let all Beit Yisra’el know assuredly that Elohim has made this very Yeshua, whom you have executed, both  יהוה  and Mashi’akh.” Acts 2

And Sha’ul attests to this, giving us Yeshua’s complete name in Filipim:

8He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the stake; 9therefore, Elohim also has highly exalted Him and given Him a Name which is above every name, 10that at the Name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of those in heaven, of those on earth, and those under the earth, 11and every tongue shall confess that He, Yeshua HaMashi’akh, is  יהוה  , to the glory of Elohim His Father.” Filipim 2

Neither “Yeshua” nor “Jesus” is the Name above all names! But, ” יהוה ” is, and that Name has been given to Yeshua HaMashi’akh! In Israel, from the fifth century B.C. to the second century A.D., Yeshua was a very common name, much like Joshua, the direct English translation, is today in English-speaking countries. Yeshua’s FULL Name is the Name above ALL names! Because He inherited His Father’s name: יהוה .

We do speak it. Our Jewish people have banned speaking it since about the second century. There is much debate over how to say it; and some people get very dogmatic about speaking/not speaking and pronunciation. We believe we have arrived at the most compelling support for how we pronounce the Name [in spite of our English accents], and that is “Yahu’ah”. Below is the reasoning why:

Josephus wrote in the late first century that it was comprised of four ‘vowels’. Those letters, Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh, were known in the first century as “Mothers of Reading,” and were used as vowels. The Hebrew Alef-bet does not have vowel letters. The vowel sounds were implied to the reader by the mothers of reading and the “Alef”, the first letter. Before the first century, the vav was known as a waw, and the King James bibles labeled it such in Psalm 119. These two facts are our first clues.

Next, we have the names of the Nevi’im. Many of the prophets had a form of the Name suffixed to the first part of their name: Yirme-Yahu/Jeremiah, Yesha-Yahu/Isaiah, Eli-Yahu/Elijah, Zekhar-Yahu/Zecharia, Ovad-Yahu/Obadiah. Each of these names had the first three letters of The Name appended as a suffix: Yod-Heh-Waw/ יהו . Add only the last “Heh”, and we have Yahu’ah. The English “Y” in the transliteration of the Name is the result of a diphthong, “EE-AH”, the combining of the first two “Mothers of Reading” into what sounds like a single sound. The whole Name, phonetically, is “EE-AH-UU-AH”, said at tempo : Yahu’ah.

Further, we have textual evidence from deep in antiquity. Going all the way back to Egypt, around 2,000 years before Messiah, Egyptians created a hieroglyph that referenced the God of Israel, and Egyptologists who read hieroglyphs agree that the pronunciation arrived at by reading the carving is Yahu’ah. Here is an image:

Egyptian hieroglyph showing the Name יהוה pronounced “Yahu’ah”.

Also, there is an Arabic parchment of scripture dating from about 960 A.D., created by a famed Karaite Rabbi, Yefet Ben Eli, and in it, the Name is also shown pronounced “Yahu’ah”. A fragment of Tehillah [Psalm] 92:8-9 shows us this:

Yefet Ben Eli’s Tehillah 92:8-9

This is translated from the Hebrew, and while there is debate on the intent of the pronunciation, some scholars agree it is pronounced “EE-AH-UU-AH”, or ‘Yahu’ah’ as written in this text.

Further, a Muslim text found at Muraba’at dated to around the same time, which may have been written by a Muslim mystic who used the name יהוה for spells, has it written there as Yah-Huwa:

Muraba’at Text spelled the Name to be pronounced Yah – Huwa

Last, considering the patronyom “Yehudah”, from where we get our word “Jew”, and the name “Judah”, there are only five letters: the mothers of reading, Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh, with a “Dalet” inserted between the vav and the heh: יהודה /Yeh-Hu-Dah. The Dalet is a “Door”. Yeshua is the “Door” to His Father, יהוה , and if He opens the door, it leaves us without only the dalet’s ‘stop’, giving us “Yahu’ah.” This is the weakest evidence, but certainly noteworthy.

All of these things together, we believe, give us the evidence we need to justify our pronunciation of the Name. We do NOT and will NOT quibble over it. But, we ask for unity in WORSHIP, if anyone will walk with us: “How can two walk together unless they agree”. We need at least to agree to respect one another, and our majority have accepted this pronunciation. We do not condemn anyone who does not, we only ask for respect, as we have not taken this lightly, neither do we treat His Name flippantly, and certainly we do not use it for vanity.

Our use of His Name follow’s Yeshua’s example, and the example of His Talmidim, and is thus limited to READING or QUOTING His Word where His Name appears in the text, or, in declaring His Truth and Character to the world. Otherwise, we call Him “Abba”, as did our Master, Our ONLY Rabbi, Yeshua the Messiah.

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