Exodus 23:13, Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth. (See also Ps 16:4.) Not only is YHVH against the worship of pagan deities and wants their names to be destroyed (Deut 12:3), but he says that he will take from the lips of his people the names of pagan deities (Hos 2:17), and eventually, he will restore a pure language (presumably one that is free of pagan names) to his people (Zeph 3:9).
Obeying this Torah principle today is difficult, since so many common words such the days of the week and some of the months of the year are named for pagan deities making normal communication without using these names difficult. Nevertheless, the redeemed righteous of YHVH will endeavor to be mindful of this command and speak as cleanly as possible.
Since this commandment immediately follows commands regarding the weekly Sabbath and the biblical feasts, which are times YHVH has commanded his people to assemble, this is a clear remez or hint that YHVH’s saints should guard against mentioning the names of pagan gods when they gather together to worship Elohim. To mention the names of pagan deities is a slap in the face of the one and only true Elohim!
If one trains ones mind and mouth to use the biblical Hebrew names of “God,” then one will be fulfilling this command. Here is a list of the common English names for deity and their biblical Hebrew equivalents:
- God = Elohim, El (for short)
- LORD = YHVH (pronounced Yud Hey Vav Hey), Yah (for short)
- Lord = Adonai
- Jesus = Yeshua
- Christ = Mashiach (or Messiah)
Question from Mark: I notice you use Messiah or Elohim etc…, would it be okay to use Jesus or God in my questions?
Natan’s answer: That’s like me asking you if you’d be offended if I called you George or Kathy. You probably wouldn’t be offended, and you’d figure out who I was talking to, but those aren’t your names. Those are names that I made up and then started calling you. This is the same with Jesus, God and so on.
What you call Elohim, Yeshua and so on is between you and Him. He knows who you’re talking to if your heart is directed to him. However, I’m just challenging you to come to a higher level of biblical truth by using his real biblical and Hebrew names. If you’re content to stay at a lower level, which I don’t think you are or else you wouldn’t be emailing me with questions, then that’s your decision.
Exodus 3:14–15, I AM THAT I AM. The name YHVH is Elohim’s memorial name forever. It reflects that fact that he is; that he is undefinable in human terms, and that he has always existed. This is the name by which he is to be remembered (not forgotten as is the case with the ineffable name concept of the rabbinic Jews whereby the names of deity are forbidden to be used). Exodus 3:14 and 15 read as follows:
14 And Elohim said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM (EHYEH ASHER EHYEH): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM (EHYEH YHVH) hath sent me unto you. 15 And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, YHVH the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name [Heb. shem] for ever, and this is my memorial [Heb. zeker] unto all generations.
Here are some examples of how various Bible versions translate the name of YHVH:
- I Am That I Am (KJV)
- I Am Who I Am (NAS, NIV, NKJV
- I Am That Which I Am (YLT)
- I Shall Be As I Shall Be (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach)
- I Will Be What I Will Be (The Gutnick Edition Chumash, JPS)
- I Will Be There Howsoever I Will Be There (The Schocken Bible)
- I Am the Being (LXX, Brenton)
Exodus 3:15 states that YHVH is Elohim’s memorial name that Moses was to use when referring to I AM THAT I AM. I AM THAT I AM is Elohim’s actual name and what he calls himself, but men are to refer to him as YHVH, which means “the existing one, the one who is, the one who will be.” Both the former and latter are forms of the Hebrew verb hayah meaning “to be.” YHVH instructed that YHVH was to be his memorial name forever. In other words, humans were to use YHVH to remember him by. There is no indication anywhere in the Bible that it was YHVH’s intention that his name was to be forgotten or hidden through euphemization. The word memorial in Exodus 3:15 is the Hebrew word zeker and means “memorial, remembrance or memory.” There is nothing here to indicate that his name was to be forgotten.
It must be noted here that we don’t refer to YHVH as I Am, for were we to do so it would be necessary to say “I Am,” and in all reality, we aren’t the I Am, but YHVH is the I Am. Just so there is no confusion when communicating YHVH’s name in every day speech, the Bible uses, not the Hebrew ehyeh meaning “I Am,” but the form of the verb which means “He Is.” In this way, every time we say his name we’re glorifying him, and not inadvertently glorifying ourselves.
The name YHVH, referred to as the tetragrammaton, is the personal name of the Creator and occurs some 6800 times in the Tanakh. The exact pronunciation of this name has been lost down through the ages, and there is debate among well-meaning individuals on how to pronounce this four consonant Hebrew name. Because there are now vowels in this name, scholars can only speculate and make educated guesses about what the vowels between the consonants should be. No one knows for sure how to vocalize the consonants Y-H-V-H. The best scholarly opinions on this subject are just that—educated guesses.
Instead of getting all worked up about how exactly to pronounce Elohim’s name, let’s just love, worship and obey YHVH! These are the weightier matters of the Torah (Matt 23:23; 1 Cor 13:1–13). This is the distinguishing mark a true disciple of Yeshua (John 13:35), and what will separate the goats from the sheep (Matt 25:37–44)—not how we pronounce YHVH’s name!
- One is a sinner (he has broken the laws of the laws of the Creator) and needs to get right with the Creator of the universe.
- One needs to worship, obey and serve YHVH Elohim simply because he is the GOD/Elohim of the universe and the Creator of all things and because he demands and deserves it.
- The Bible is the only book that lays out the path of reconciliation with the Creator of the universe through which man must come to terms with his sinful nature that is opposed to good and Elohim.
- Each person needs a moral compass to point him in the right direction.
- One needs a guardrail on the road of life to keep one from falling into the a spiritual ditch, or off of the spiritual cliff.
- One needs a spiritual, moral, emotional foundation upon which to build one’s life.
- Each person needs to understand why he was born, who made him, his purpose in life, where he has come from and what the future of holds for his life.
- One needs to understand the meaning of life.
- One needs be able to answer the deep questions of life without running from them, ignoring them or masking over them.
- One needs the support of a spiritual community in times of need that other like-minding believers bring.
- One has to decide whether one will put one’s faith in the philosophies of men, and in the reasonings of secular humanists who philosophize about Elohim, or in the divine revelation of the Creator himself as revealed in his Word, and as demonstrated by the fruits of the lives of his servants and miraculous power and anointing in which they walk.
- Each person needs to get a personal revelation of who made them, why they were made them and what their purpose and destiny is.
- Faith helps you to understand who your are, why you’re here and where you’re going.
- Man needs something outside of himself to direct his heart, focus, thoughts towards—something that can lift him upward when he is down, something beyond himself that will give him a transcendent hope, something that will give him a higher purpose and reason for living. Man has a need for this in the depths of his soul. Nothing temporal or physical will fill this need. Those who refuse to recognize this will often turn to physical, mental or emotional crutches, to addictions or false spirituality to mask over this need. But like an air bubble that cannot be forcibly held under the water, but must rise to the surface, likewise this human spiritual need unfulfilled will rise to the surface to reveal the leanness or vacuous nature of all other things that have been used to keep man’s deep inner spiritual need suppressed.
Can you think of some other reasons to believe? If so, share them with us in the comments section.
In this video published on January 25, 2018, Hebrew scholar, Nehemia Gordon discusses manuscript evidence for the pronunciation of the personal name of YHVH with his team of researchers. Gordon and his team have been searching ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Tanakh (OT) that go back to the ninth century A.D. After searching through thousands of ancient manuscripts and visually looking for the Hebrew letters Y-H-V-H, they have found 1015 instances where the Jewish sages have filled in the vowel points of these four letters for the name of Elohim so that it reads Yehovah. To date, they have not found a single instance where Y-H-V-H has been written as Yahweh. At 41:40 in the video, Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss this fact. Gordon has put together a data base listing the places in the Bible where the name Yehovah occurs along with the name of the ancient manuscript in which Yehovah is found.
Here is a short version of this info:
In this short video, Nehemia Gordon explains why the six letter in the Hebrew alphabet is pronounced as a v and and not as a w. This information has a profound impact on how to vocalize or pronounce the personal name of YHVH.
This video is an abbreviated version of a much longer teaching Nehemia presented on his website where he gives more examples from ancient Hebrew manuscripts why the vav was correctly pronounced as a v and not as w by most ancient Hebrew speaking Jews, as well as how the w pronunciation came into the Hebrew language much later. He shows actual photos of these manuscripts in the longer version.