Why use the Hebrew names and titles of the "God" and the Savior of the Bible and other Biblical terms?
First, as was stated on the home page, although the author of this commentary is a "Christian" (in the Scriptural sense of the term - read the essay on True Christianity), it is written from the Hebraic perspective of the one who wrote it, the apostle John. Why? . . . simply because it is impossible to fully understand the Bible without understanding the cultural and linguistic perspective from which it was written. Several terms and concepts are used that may be somewhat unfamiliar to most "Christians."
Second and more important, one of Satan's greatest and most tragic triumphs over Bible believers is to change and confuse the names and titles of the Father and the Son, plus other Scriptural terms, thus diluting, distorting, and confusing their true meanings. In the Tanakh ("Old Testament"), the titles Elohim (translated "God" in most English Bibles - cf. Genesis 1:1) and Adonai (translated "Lord" in most English Bibles but also meaning "Master" - cf. Genesis 15:2): and the name Yahovah (translated "LORD" or occasionally "GOD" in most English Bibles - cf. Genesis 2:4 and 15:2) are used interchangeably, referring to either the Father or the Son, or to both, depending on the context. This is confusing and even tragic. Isn't it ironic that the adherents of virtually all the world's religions know the names of their gods, but most "Christians" and "Jews" do not? How are we going to praise and proclaim the names of our "God" and our Savior to the world if we don't even know their names?
Therefore, because it is very important to know exactly to what or whom the Scriptural text is referring, in this commentary, the best we can by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, we use the correct, Hebrew, Scriptural names and titles of the Father, the Son, and other terms. And we pray that the following explanations will help.
Disclaimer: Just because the author uses certain Hebrew names and terms in this commentary does not mean that he practices a kind of reverse replacement theology - replacing "Christians" with Yahudim ("Jews"). Please visit Who are the People of Elohim ("God")? for a complete explanation of who the chosen people of Yahovah ("the LORD") are. Also, recognizing that a tactic Satan uses to divide believers in the coming Messiah Yahushua ("Christ Jesus") is to get them quibbling over non-essential issues (rather than being united in the Spirit), he will not be dogmatic about the spellings, pronunciations, or even the use of the following terms as opposed to others (although, as will be explained, it is very important to do our best, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, to use the correct Hebrew names, titles, and terms of Scripture).
Y-H-V-H - the closest English approximation of the Hebrew letters Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (the Tetragrammaton) that represent the name of the "God" of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) and the "God" of the "Christians." Written Scriptural Hebrew in the earliest extant manuscripts contains no vowels. It was not until the second century ABM (After the Birth of the Messiah) that “Jewish” Masoretic scribes, under persecution from the Greeks and the Romans , started including marks or pointers in their manuscripts that indicated what vowels should be used in pronouncing words. And because of prohibitions against speaking the name of the Creator by pagan, Greek, and Roman Catholic persecutors of the “Jews” during the early centuries following the diaspora of the "Jews" in 70 and 135 ABM, Masoretic scribes of most of the earliest extant Hebrew Scriptures changed the first vowel to indicate an "eh" rather than an "ah" sound and refused to include a mark for the second vowel in His name, obscuring its pronunciation and therefore its phonetic spelling. Therefore, although the topic of much research and debate by Bible scholars and others down through the centuries, the exact phonetic spelling of the name (in English), according to various Hebrew and Bible scholars, varies from "eeyahooah" (spelled Yahuah) to Yahweh, Yehovah, Jehovah and other spellings.
Nevertheless, the "God" of the Bible has made it very clear that He wants His name to be used and proclaimed by His people (an important truth that is neglected by most modern "Jews" and "Christians"). YHVH actually appears 6,828 times in the Hebrew manuscripts of the "Old Testament". The short form Yah appears 49 times. It is His name by which He is remembered from generation to generation (Exodus 3:15). And it is His name that distinguishes Him from the thousands of false, pagan "gods" of the world (Isaiah 45:5). Moses, to whom the name of the "God" of his ancestors was revealed on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3:15), openly proclaimed His name (Deuteronomy 32:3). "The LORD’s" people are exhorted to take oaths in His name (Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20), exhalt His name (Psalm 34:3), give thanks to His name (Psalm 122:4), praise His name (Psalm 113:1, 3; 135:1), bless His name (Deuteronomy 10:8; Psalm 145:21), minister in His name (Deuteronomy 18:5), serve in His name (Deuteronomy 18:7), call upon His name (Isaiah 12:4), and glorify His name (Isaiah 24:15). King David sang praises to His name (Psalm 18:49), declared that he would wait on His name (Psalm 52:9) and make His name to be remembered (Psalm 45:17), appealed to his "God" to save him by His name (Psalm 54:1), and prophesied that all the earth would sing praises to His name (Psalm 86:9). Finally, Solomon asked, "What is His name, and what is His Son's name? Surely you know!" (Proverbs 30:4). Indeed, how are we going to make the distinct name of our "God" known to the world without speaking it? Isn't it terrible that the enemy of "the LORD’s" people has succeeded in keeping His name not only from being spoken by them but in hiding it from their knowledge?
We will not be dogmatic about the correct spelling and pronunciation of "God's" name because it's what is in our hearts that counts rather than exact spellings and pronunciations (cf. 2 Timothy 2:14). Nevertheless, trusting that our Heavenly Father will honor the intention of our hearts, we use the phonetic spelling Yahovah in this commentary because it is a name based on extensive historical and linguistic research and much archaeological evidence.2 The term "LORD" as misused in most English translations of the Scripture (including the New King James Version, which is quoted in this commentary) in the place of Yahovah, is not a proper, Scriptural name of the "God" of the Bible and should not be used as such. It is a descriptive title. In fact, Adonai, which is Hebrew for "my Lord" or "Master" is used in the Hebrew Scriptures as a descriptive title of the supreme, sovereign Ruler Yahovah. Accordingly, Adonai (rather than "the Lord") will be used in this commentary to refer to a title of the "God" of the Bible and not to His name. The Hebrew plural term ‘elohiym (English: Elohim) is frequently translated "God" in Scripture but is a title referring to Yehovah’s divine, omnipotent, collective plural nature (more than one being functioning as one) rather than to His proper name. In fact, Elohim refers to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as one, as in Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew version of John 1:1-3, and frequently throughout the Scriptures. "Elohim" is also used in Scripture to refer to created or spiritual offspring of Yahovah (humans or angels) or even to other “gods” (cf. Exodus 22:19; Psalm 8:5; John 10:35), so, to whom it refers must be determined by context. Although Yahovah and Elohim are ultimately the same Being and the name and the title are used interchangeably or together hundreds of times in the Hebrew Scriptures (e.g. Genesis 2:4; 3:8), referring to either or both the Father and the Son, depending on the context, in this commentary, to avoid confusion and to distinctly refer to the "God" of the Bible, we attempt to use the title Elohim in passages of Scripture or situations in which the collective plural title, referring to both the Father and the Son, is appropriate. For example, “the wrath of Elohim” is used rather than "the wrath of Yahovah" because Revelation 6:16 makes it clear that the "wrath" of the Day of the "LORD" (Yahovah) is the wrath of both the Father and the Son.
Yahushua – "Jesus" in most English translations. Although various other spellings include Yeshua, Yashuah, Yahusha, and so forth, and although Yeshua is the name of the Messiah used most commonly by "Jews," Messianics, and in the Middle East today, research indicates that Yeshua is Aramaic in derivation and somewhat obscures the full meaning of the Hebrew name of the Messiah, which is Yahushua. Therefore, Yahushua, which literally means "Yah is salvation," will be used in this commentary.3 "Jesus" is derived from the Greek name Iesous and the Latin name Iesus which means "savior." However, Yahushua, which is the same as the Hebrew name of the "Joshua" of the "Old Testament," is much richer in meaning. Also in the "Old Testament" there is no clear distinction between the Father and the Son. Except on special occasions (as when Yahovah appeared to Abraham as a man [Genesis 18], the Father and the Son functioned as one (e.g., Genesis 1:1 vis-à-vis John 1:1-3). Therefore, the name of both in the Tanakh is Yahovah (the name represented by YHVH) which means "Yah is the self-existent one - the I AM - the one who always was, is, and will always be" (cf. Exodus 3:14-15). Hundreds of times in the Tanakh, beginning in Genesis 2:4, the name Yahovah Elohim (translated in most English Bibles as “the LORD God”), which refers to His collective plural nature, is used to identify the "God" of the Bible. However, when the Son was manifested in the flesh as the Messiah, His name was modified to Yah-u-shua ("Yah is salvation") (cf. Matthew 1:21), to designate His role as the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Finally, just as Elohim refers to both the Father and the Son, so does Adonai which will be used wherever the generic term "Lord" or "Master" is used for the Son in most translations.
BBM (Before the Birth of the Messiah) and ABM (After the Birth of the Messiah)—refer to events or times before or after Yahushua’s birth. The usual terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini – in the year of the Lord) are misleading because they, in a subtle way, undermine the deity of the Messiah, implying that He did not exist before His birth. They also play into the hands of the replacement theologians who teach that Christians have replaced Israel as Yahovah’s chosen people. The alternative terms BCE (Before the Common Era, Christian Era, or Current Era) and CE (the Common Era, Current Era, or Christian Era) are also misleading because they are ambiguous terms developed by "Jews" and secularists to deny that the coming of the Messiah Yahushua to Earth was the turning point of world history and, indeed, to deny the Son of the Father Yahovah’s existence altogether. (BCE and CE do not even contain a reference to the name or title of the One around whom all history revolves). Also, they are inaccurate, because astronomical and historical evidence have shown that Yahushua was born in 2 or 3 "BC" or "BCE." So, for the sake of clear communication and the lack of a better alternative, the terms BBM and ABM will be used in this commentary to designate calendar dates.
Israel or the Hebrews - refers to the descendants of Jacob (natural or proselytes). “True Israel,” as distinguished by the apostle Paul (cf. Romans 9:6), looks forward in faith to the coming of the Messiah, whether or not they have yet recognized that He is Yahushua (cf. Romans 11:25). Although "Hebrews" referred originally to the descendants of Abraham, the two terms came to be used interchangeably in referring to the descendants of Jacob.
Yahudim - "Jews" is a meaningless, derogatory term coined by translators of the King James Bible and used in most English translations. The Hebrew and true Scriptural term "Yahudim" means "worshippers of Yahovah." Originally and technically "Yahudim" referred to members of one of the tribes of Israel - the tribe of Yahudah ("Judah"). But after the Northern Kingdom (Israel or Ephraim) divided from the Southern Kingdom (Yahudah), "Yahudim" referred to subjects of the Southern Kingdom because of its dominant tribe, Yahudah. However, after the Northern Kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BBM and many thousands of subjects of the tribes of the Northern Kingdom fled to the Southern Kingdom, intermingling all twelve tribes, "Yahudim" came to refer to the entire nation of Israel. The book of Daniel, which was written while the Yahudim were in captivity in Babylon, uses the terms "Yahudim" and "children of Israel" interchangeably (Daniel 1:3; 3:8, 12; also, cf. Daniel 9:7, 11, 12). And that is how the term was used by the apostle Paul, himself an Israelite/Yahudi ("Jew") of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1), who, in explaining his own identification as a Yahudi, clearly stated that he was also a citizen of "my own nation" (Israel) which he also identified as "all our twelve tribes" (Acts 26:4-7). Then, throughout His letter to the Romans, Paul used the terms "Israel" and "Yahudim" interchangeably.
The Old Covenant Scriptures and the New Covenant Scriptures—commonly referred to as the Old Testament and the New Testament, respectively. However, “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are ambiguous, misleading terms, giving the impression that Scripture given before the time of Yahushua is outdated or has been replaced by Scripture given after the time of Yahushua. But the apostle Paul stated, "All Scripture [referring especially to the "Old Testament," because the "New Testament" had not yet been compiled] is given by the inspiration of [Yahovah] . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16). This presents us with a dilemma, because, as has been established above, Yahudim who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah but do not yet recognize that He is Yahushua, and those who already know Yahushua as the Messiah, are, in the eyes of Yahovah, who knows the end from the beginning (Acts 46:10), already “one in the Messiah” (Galatians 3:28). Therefore, all of Scripture—both what is called the “New Testament” and what is called the “Old Testament”—was given to both believing Jews (“true Israel”—Romans 9:6) and to the present Disciples of Yahushua (the "Christians"). And there shouldn’t be any division between the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament”—one should flow into the other seamlessly. That division is a major perpetrator of Replacement Theology, on one hand, and Messianic/Hebrew Roots theology (which is often an over-reaction to Replacement Theology and is also, ironically, a form of Replacement Theology) on the other hand. Therefore, in this commentary, “the Old Covenant Scriptures” (Hebrew: Tanakh) referring to those Scriptures written before the first advent of the Messiah by men who were under the Old Covenant - the covenant with Israel at Sinai (cf. Hebrews 8:9, 13), will be used rather than “Old Testament” and “the New Covenant Scriptures” (Hebrew: B'rit Chadashah), referring to those Scriptures written by Followers of Yahushua who were under the New Covenant after His first advent, will be used rather than “New Testament.” Nevertheless, it is a mistake to think that Israel has been rejected by Yahovah because the New Covenant allegedly does not apply to them. The New Covenant was first promised to Israel and, at the end of the age, will result in their salvation (cf. Jeremiah 31:31; Romans 11:26), just as it will result in the salvation of those who are, at the present time, grafted into Israel - the Followers of Yahushua (cf. Romans 11:24; Ephesians 2:11-15).
The Torah - the Hebrew name of the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch), commonly referred to as "the Law" in the New Covenant Scriptures. However, the Torah is much more than the rules and ordinances of the "Old Testament" Law. It contains all the teachings and instructions for living a happy, successful life as a child of Yahovah.
The Saints, the Redeemed, the Remnant, the Elect - Yahovah’s ancient people Israel who, in faith, anticipated the Messiah, His current people the Yahudim who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah, and the Disciples of Yahushua are all, in both the Old Covenant Scriptures and the New Covenant Scriptures, referred to as the “called,” the “chosen,” the “elect,” the “redeemed,” the "remnant," and the “saints.” Indeed, as the apostle Paul explains, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in [the Messiah Yahushua]” (Galatians 3:28). Whether “the Saints,” “the Redeemed,” or “the Elect” are referring to those Hebrews who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah or to the ones who have already accepted Yahushua as their Messiah must be determined by context.
The Disciples of, Followers of or Believers in Yahushua (the Messiah) - commonly referred to in Gentile translations of the New Covenant Scriptures as “Christians.” However, “Christian,” first coined by the Greek-speaking people in Antioch (Acts 11:26), has become a misleading term, giving the impression that the Yahudim who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah but have not yet recognized Him are separate from and have been relegated to an inferior status or replaced by the "Christian Church," when, in fact, the people of Yahovah Elohim, including ancient Israel, have believed in, interacted with, and followed the Messiah throughout their history. The final confirmation that they are His chosen people will be when the Messiah returns in the clouds, they look on Him who they have pierced, mourn, repent, and are saved (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7; Romans 11:26).
Life in the Messiah - commonly referred to as “Christianity.”
Yahovah's People or the Assembly of, the Congregation of, the Community of or the Body of Believers in Yahushua - commonly referred to in Gentile translations of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures as the "Church” (Greek: ekklesia – a gathering of citizens called out from their homes to some public place of assembly). “Church” is a term originally coined by the Roman Catholic Church to refer only to that religious organization and has taken on misleading connotations because it gives the false impression that Yahovah’s original chosen people Israel are separate from the “Church.” However, in both the Old Covenant Scriptures and the New Covenant Scriptures, "the assembly," "the congregation," and "the bride” refer to the corporate People of Elohim, and Paul explains that Gentiles who become Disciples of Yahushua are “grafted into” the “commonwealth of Israel," in which "You [Gentiles] are . . . fellow citizens with the saints [Israel]." (cf. Romans 11:24; Ephesians 2:12, 19). In the Kingdom of Yahovah Elohim, there is no distinction between the ancient Hebrews (beginning with Abraham) who looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah, the modern-day Jews who anticipate in faith His coming, and the present-day Disciples of Yahushua (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). Also, etymological studies have shown that the original root of the word “church” is not ekklesia; it is derived from the Greek term kuriakon (from kurios - lord or master) loosely meaning "lord's house." So, in this commentary, in most cases, the term “assembly” will be used rather than “church.”
Antimessiah—commonly referred to as “Antichrist” (1 John 4:3). Although many have the anti-messiah spirit, at the End of the Age, there will be a man (Revelation 13:18), the incarnation of Satan, the false messiah who, for a short time (42 months) will rule the world.
Note: If a term replaces the original term in a quotation, it is enclosed in [brackets]. Direct quotes from the Biblical text and from the original languages are in italics.
2 The Hebrew scholar Nehemiah Gordon and his team of researchers, during a period of over 20 years, have done meticulous, painstaking research on the name of the "God" of the Bible. For a thorough explanation of the rationale for Nehemiah's spelling of the name of "God" Yehovah, read his book Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, available through Amazon. For articles and audiocasts based on his current research, visit Nehemiah's website NehemiahsWall.com. However, at least one expositor (see the reference in the next footnote) has pointed out that the first syllable of the name of both the Father and the Son should be Yah, the correct original phonetic spelling, rather than Yeh which is a modification initiated by the Masoretic scribes to prevent the correct pronunciation of Elohim's name during the centuries of severe persecution of those who spoke the name in public. Therefore, taking all this and other research into consideration, the spelling of the name of the "God" of the Bible in this commentary will be Yahovah.
3 For an excellent exegesis and defense of the name Yahushua, read the article at http://www.eliyah.com/yahushua.html.
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Having been a Christian for forty years, when I retired, I realized that I didn't know my Creator's name, or His Son's name. When I prayed fervently to …
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Hi Bob Firstly, God has no definite name. When asked by Moses whom shall I say has sent me. God said to Moses "I will be what I will be." (The Bible …
Common English translations of Hebrew and Messianic terms used in this commentary:
Yahovah - the LORD or GOD
Elohim - God
Adonai - my Lord or Master
Yahushua - Jesus
Followers of Yahushua -
Messiah - Christ
Assembly of Followers of
Yahushua - the Church
Yahudim - Jews
Antimessiah - Antichrist
BBM - Before the Birth of
the Messiah (as
opposed to BC or BCE)
ABM - After the Birth of the
Messiah (as opposed to
AD or CE)
For a complete explanation of Hebrew terms used, go to Important Terms and Concepts.
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