Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yahweh

'Yahweh,' the Tetragrammaton (as introduced in yesterday's post), is composed of:

Yod


-Yod or yud was anciently portrayed as a symbol of a hand [yad in Hebrew]. This is the entire hand, or closed hand [in contrast with the letter kaf, which comes from the pictograph of the palm of the hand]. The closed hand denotes power and, figuratively, ownership.
-Yod is masculine. In the sacred name Yahweh, it is representative of the Father.
-Yod is the seminal letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It cannot be divided into component parts, like other letters can. It signifies the oneness of Elohim.
-The yod is the smallest [and most humble] letter. From it, the other letters originate. It is symbolic of creation.

Hey


-The letter hey is feminine, and represents femininity and gentleness. The first hey in the Name is representative of the Mother / Holy Spirit / Eloah.
-Hey means ‘behold’, ‘to show’ or ‘to reveal’.

Vav


-Vav is also masculine in gender.
-Vav signifies a nail, peg, or hook. It also conveys the meaning of being nailed or bound together.
-The numerical value of vav is 6.

They are pronounced, in Hebrew, "Yod Hey Vav Hey," when you read them in the Hebrew manner from right to left.


The four letters in God's name in Hebrew have the following meanings:

Hey = Behold

Vav = Nail

Yod = Closed Hand

When read in English from left to right, it says:

"BEHOLD THE NAIL, BEHOLD THE HAND!"
Or, "Behold the nailed hand."

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10)

"Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet." (Psalm 22:16)

"Clearly, this is no ordinary, every-day name. But wait, there's more: Yahushua (often Yeshua or Yahshua, the Hebrew name of Jesus, similar to Joshua), the Hebrew name of the Messiah, the son of Yahweh, means "YHWH is salvation." Therefore, you can take that a step further and see it as "Behold, the nailed hand is salvation." This not only powerfully illustrates Yahushua's role as Savior, but also His divinity (as Yahweh incarnate) and His relationship to Yahweh as His only begotten son. As Yahushua Himself said, "I have come in my Father's name (John 5:43)." Just as His life and character point us to His Father (John 14:6 - "no one comes to the Father but by me;" see also John 17:23-26), so also does His name point us to the sacred Name of Yahweh. He even instructed us to pray: "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name . . . (Luke 11:2)."

You have no doubt heard most or all of the following descriptive terms and/or titles that have often been applied to Yahweh: El (meaning "mighty one,"), Elohim (the plural form of El), El Shaddai ("almighty one"), and Adonai ("my lord"), among others. While those words, like the commonly used English terms "Lord" and "God," can certainly express different aspects of the character of Yahweh, they are merely generic titles and descriptions. None of them is His Name.

When the Scriptures were being transcribed, it was believed by the Jewish scribes performing the task that they should not pronounce the sacred Name of YHWH, for fear of violating the third commandment ("Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain . . . " - Exodus 20:7). This led to the use of other words, generic titles (such as "Adonai"), as substitutes for the true name, Yahweh. Therefore, if you were to compare a typical, modern English translation of the Bible with the original Hebrew texts, you would see how YHWH (which can be found a total of 7,038 times in the original Hebrew Old Testament) was replaced by "the Lord" or "God."

The form Jehovah did not exist as a Hebrew word. It is actually a conflation (blend, fusion) of two Hebrew forms that came about through a peculiarity of the Hebrew writing system. The Hebrew name for God, the consonants of which are transliterated YHWH, was considered so sacred that it was never pronounced and its proper vowel points were never written. In some texts the vowel points for a completely different word, Adonai, "lord," were written with YHWH to indicate that the word Adonai was to be spoken whenever the reader came upon the word YHWH. YHWH was never intended to be pronounced with the vowels of Adonai, but Christian scholars of the Renaissance made exactly that mistake, and the forms Iehovah (using the classical Latin equivalents of the Hebrew letters) and Jehovah (substituting in English, J for consonantal I) came into common use.

A New Standard Bible Dictionary (1936 edition) states, "The form 'Jehovah' is impossible, according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization."

So, it is clearly no secret that Jehovah is not the true Name of our God. But don't worry - this doesn't mean that the wonderful suffixes normally attached to Jehovah (as in Jehovah Jireh, Rapha, Nissi, etc.) are also wrong. Those transliterations are for the most part correct, and when added to the name Yahweh (as in "Yahweh Yireh" - "Yahweh the Provider"), they can serve as powerful expressions of certain attributes and characteristics of our Lord Yahweh."

You might reply, "So what? Who cares what the exact Name may or may not be? Why should it matter?"

"When someone begins a relationship with you, one of the first things they learn is your name. As the relationship develops, they begin to learn more and more of your character, and eventually, if they want to, they will know you very well and will be devoted to your relationship. However, the relationship would most likely not last very long if they kept referring to you as "man" or "woman," "sir" or "madam." Such a thing would keep a certain amount of distance between the two of you, and would surely not be a good way to create and maintain intimacy and love.

They might tell you over and over again that they love you dearly, but would you really believe them if they kept addressing you by an impersonal title or description? The same applies to our relationship with our wonderful Creator, Yahweh. To continually apply generic terms like "Lord" and "God" to Him would be like a husband constantly calling his spouse "Wife" or "Woman."

I'm not saying that its wrong to refer to Yahweh as 'God' or 'Lord.' But, for a Christian who wants to increase their intimate relationship with their Lord, shouldn't you want to learn more about His Name (as well as other biblical references to Him) and what it means?


(some portions of information are from):
http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/BibleStudyAndTheology/discipleship/Names_of_God.aspx

16 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

The four letters in God's name in Hebrew have the following meanings:

Hey = Behold

Vav = Nail

Yod = Closed Hand

When read in English from left to right, it says:

"BEHOLD THE NAIL, BEHOLD THE HAND!"
Or, "Behold the nailed hand."

Cheers, do you the exact reference for that Jeff?

Jeff said...

Oh, I see my link got cut off. I don't remember whether this was the only source (I'll try to check that out), but here is the link:
Knowing God By Name

I also have a couple books on this, as well.

Jeff said...

A couple other sites:

CARM

Logos World News

Jeff said...

Also here:
Question: Can I ask you how you, being Jewish, came to know Jesus as Messiah? What was your path to discovering the truth of the Gospel?

This is a portion of the answer from that page:
"I was led to the passage in scripture where Moses is given what God refers to as His “Memorial Name”. In Hebrew the name is read from right to left . (Yod Hay Vav Hay) The English letters are YHVH from which we get the name Jehovah. There are many names for God in scripture; however, this is the only one known as His Memorial Name. Although I understood the meaning of “I AM”, I never understood how this was a “memorial”, until the Holy Spirit lifted the veil. When learning Hebrew you find that each letter has a word picture associated with it. When looking at the meaning of each letter within the name, the memorial is revealed. Yod=Hand, Hay=Behold, Vav=Nail, Hay=Behold. The name takes on a more profound meaning as we read the words Hand Behold Nail Behold. What God was trying to tell me became so apparent that I felt like He had picked me up and rocked me in His arms. He revealed the wounds of the cross in His Name long before the nails pierced His hands and feet. His Name is a Memorial to the suffering He endured to set us free from the bondage of sin and death so that we may dwell with Him forever! Glory to His Name!"

Jeff said...

Also this makes reference to it:
The Creation Diet

Jeff said...

Also this mentions it:
W.A.Y.Min
Here is a quote from that site:
"The “vav” is the last letter in YHWH's name. This letter resembles a hook and actually means “nail.” In Israel today, a nail is called a “vav.”
The Psalmist prophesied of the Savior when he wrote that the Messiah’s hands (yod) would be pierced by a nail (vav). Psalm 22:16, “The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me. They have pierced my hands and my feet.” The letter “vav” symbolizes how hwhy has provided salvation through His son. The Messiah died to pay the price for sin. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of YHWH is eternal life,” Romans 3:23.
Together, the letters of YHWH's name unlock the mystery of salvation.
The word picture found in the name of YHWH reveals the only path to life eternal. Yod y– the hands, Hey h– behold, Vav w – the nail, Hey h– behold !
By examining the name of Yahweh we see the message to “Behold the nail scarred hands. Behold!” Notice the hey – the command to “behold” - appears twice. Many have heard the gospel message. Millions know how the Saviour was crucified, placed in a borrowed tomb, and then resurrected 3 days later. It is not this knowledge alone that changes a life. You need to “behold” the Savior and pay attention to His words."

Jeff said...

And this one has an interesting visual about halfway down the page:
A True Thomas Moment

Jeff said...

Here's another blog on blogspot that mentions it:
iChronicles

jeleasure said...

Very cool, Jeff. I hope you do not mind that I pass this along to some fans of etimology. If they have not heard of this, they will absolutely love it.
This may be a good study to do in class on a day when the teacher is not there.
Jim

Jeff said...

Jim,

No problem, and thanks for dropping by again.

Yeah, it would make for a very interesting study. I may post more on the subject in the future.

Jeff said...

Of the names of God in the Old Testament, that which occurs most frequently (6,823 times) is the so-called Tetragrammaton, YHWH (hwhy), the distinctive personal name of the God of Israel.
-The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 9, page 160

ashita said...

Since the words are in Hebrew, why are we then reading it backwards "English style"? I think we should be reading it the way it should be read, and look for the meaning there.
I would also suggest checking out this chart:
http://amerisoftinc.com/hebletr1.htm for a wider variety of translations.
I agree with you about knowing the name of the Almighty, and it is exactly this quest that has led me to your site. I recently discovered this neat little YHWH aphorism, but I'm not convinced of this translation. It seems really neat and I was almost hooked...but I also notice the yud character means closed hand (note the distinction, there is another character for open hand). So, how can you behold the nail if the hand is closed? Love to hear feedback.

Jeff said...

Hi Ashita,

Thank you for your comment, and I'm sorry for taking so long to approve your comment and to reply, but I have been very busy for some time now, and have not had time lately to devote to my blog.

Thank you for the link to the Hebrew Letters/Consonants chart.

If you read it backwards, for example, saying: "Hand...behold! Nail...behold!", it doesn't change the meaning. When translating from one language to another, it is not uncommon to change the order of the words in order for it to make sense in another language.

As far as beholding the nail if the hand is closed, crucifixion normally involved nailing the victim to a horizontal beam through the wrist between the radius and the ulna (the two bones of the forearm). The Greek word for hand – χειρ – means “A hand or any relevant portion of the hands, including, for example, the fingers.” (Nida & Louw, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Vol. 1, p. 98.). The question is whether the word “hand” in Greek also included the wrist. The word “wrist” or “wrists” appears only in Acts 12:7 in the NIV New Testament. In the Old Testament it appears twice in Genesis 38:27 & 30, in Jeremiah 40:4 and Ezekiel 13:18. In Acts 12:7 and in the Septuagint of the OT, “wrist” is a translation of χειρ. So, it would seem that “wrist” was included within the semantic range of χειρ and so the problem seems to be solved. John 20:27 could quite accurately be translated: “…See my wrists. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Charles said...

Thanks Jeff
Can you tell us who is the Jewish person being interviewed in your comment above of June 29, 2008?
It is incredible how the bible is being confirmed by archeology, linguistics, mathematics, biology, astronomy at such an accelerated rate during the last few years.

Jeff said...

Thanks for your comment, Charles. The link that I referred to in my comment is broken, and that was 3 years ago, but I believe it comes from the book, Behold and Be Held, the Memorial Name of God, by Aaron Rabin, where Mr. Rabin investigated the ideographic meaning of the Hebrew letters Yud Hey Vav Hey. Also compare the Hebrew letters here and here and here. There are several ideographic meanings for each of the letters. Hey, for example can mean both "window", and "look" or "behold". Vav can mean "hook", "peg", or "nail". But in each case the ideas represented by the letters are closely related.

Come and Reason Together said...

Hello Jeff,

My name is Aaron Rabin and I am the author of Behold and be held:The memorial Name of God. It wasn't a book but rather a piece I wrote for a Devotional put out by Walk Thru the Bible Ministries called Indeed.