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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting to Know God: Jehovah

I was afraid I wasn't going to have much to say in this post as I introduced the name Jehovah.  From my point of view, the name simply meant "Lord" and, while there is great power in that name, I wasn't sure I would be able to find much to say beyond the usual.  Boy, was I wrong!  This morning I have truly bitten off more than I can chew.  I have spent the last hour researching, and let me tell you, my brain hurts!  I believe I nearly drowned in a sea of Hebrew pronunciations and present-day translations.  At this point, there's so much to say that I don't even know where to begin, so forgive me in advance for the information overload.  I'll try to keep this as concise as possible.

For starters, the name Jehovah is a translation of the Hebrew name YHWH (or Yahweh, as we know it).  As the true name of the one and only God, the name YHWH was considered so sacred that it was forbidden to be uttered or written.  Therefore, vowel signs were added for the sake of pronunciation, and in the end, the name Jehovah was formed.  Trust me, there's much more to it than that, but as I said earlier, I don't want to get too bogged down in the details I was swimming through this morning.  Don't get me wrong, it's fascinating information, but I'm fresh out of life preservers!  So, for the sake of brevity, let's just say that Jehovah is the equivalent translation of YHWH.

The name means "Lord", "self-existing one", I AM THAT I AM.  We first see this great name in Genesis 2 where we see the term "LORD" spelled out in all capital letters.  Shortly after, in Exodus 3, God reveals Himself as such:  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. (Exodus 3:14)  Talk about an introduction!  "Who are you?"  "I AM THAT I AM, and that's all you need to know."  Why?  Because that's all that needs to be said.  He is.  He always has been.  He always will be.  He has no beginning or end.  His ways are past finding out.  He just is!

Being a Hebrew word, the name Jehovah (or YHWH) is not found in the New Testament.  Some (including the Jehovah's Witness) take this as evidence that Jesus is not God but rather a created being much like the angels.  What they fail to take into consideration is that the New Testament was written in Greek, therefore, the Hebrew words were often substituted with the Greek equivalent, which in this case is kurios, translated "Lord" and used to refer to all three persons of the trinity throughout the New Testament.  If you're interested in a fascinating article that refutes the view that the absence of the name Jehovah proves that Christ is not God, you can visit  It's very informative and will help you to arm yourself so that you can adequately defend the truth.

The name Jehovah (YHWH) is used nearly 7,000 times in the Old Testament and is best known as the covenant name of God.  As with the name El, the name Jehovah is often accompanied by a qualifier, not so much for recognition (as was the case with El), but rather for description.  Over the next few posts, we'll delve into some of those qualifiers and find out even more about our Lord who is truly beyond all description!

Are you having fun yet?

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