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ב״ה
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(Isaiah 2:3)

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Beit Midrash
(House of Learning)

Beit Midrash Index  •  Vocabulary Matters


The “Sacred Name” Heresy

Background

Early in the second century of the Common Era, Rome began prohibiting the Jews, under pain of death, from praying to or speaking aloud the Covenantal Name of the Most High, hwhy (YHWH). In an effort to protect the people, the Rabbis issued a Takanah a Rabbinical edict which, in direct violation of Torah, adds commandments to or takes commandments away from the Torah — prohibiting the Jewish people from speaking The Name. [VIDEO] Then in the Talmud the Rabbis falsely claimed that the pronunciation of The Name had been lost. So when encountering The Name in either writing or speaking, they began using various circumloquotions, the most common of which was the Hebrew word for Lord, Adonai.

The Sacred Name
The Sacred Name - Falsely Pointed
FALSELY
POINTED
The Sacred Name - Correctly Pointed
CORRECTLY
POINTED

To protect their tradition in later years, they systematically removed one vowel point from the Name hwhy in their written (and later, printed) texts, so that it would be rendered as an improper word. Within the past 20 years, a Karaite scholar named Nehemia Gordon, who worked as a translator on the Dead Sea Scrolls, has discovered numerous ancient Hebrew manuscripts in which the correctly-pointed Name is clearly seen.

 The most common Jewish tradition of representing the Sacred Name [hwhy] is to write the Name and its various forms and representations such as “G-d” and “L-rd” with a dash instead of spelling the word and to pronounce it as “Adonai” when reading the Name aloud.

Some Jewish writers claim to follow this tradition to indicate that the God to whom they are referring is the God of Israel, the God of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’acov (as if there were some other God to whom one could be referring), or to otherwise show proper respect for the Sacred Name. Some claim that to use the Sacred Name at all shows disrespect.

Some claim that this tradition stems from the Rabbinical prohibition of erasing the Name, once having been written, or of destroying any document on which the Sacred Name has been written. The Rabbis have recently lifted this prohibition when the Sacred Name is written on a computer or displayed on a computer screen (because it is “destroyed” or “erased” whenever it scrolls off the screen), but many Jewish websites continue to follow the practice because the screen images may be printed onto paper and then that printed copy may be destroyed.

Others claim that it is appropriate to use the Sacred Name when speaking about God, but not when speaking to Him (because, for example, we seldom call our human father by his proper name when speaking to him).

Within the Messianic Community it is generally acceptable to use the Hebrew word Adonai or its English equivalent Lord. When either is used in place of the sacred name hwhy it is generally written in all capital letters (ADONAI, LORD) or in small capitals (ADONAI, LORD). When hwhy is used alongside the word Lord (Adonai) or the word God (Elohim), it is generally represented as LORD God (hwhy Elohim) or Lord GOD (Adonai hwhy).

Please see Where Did the Word “Jehovah” Come From?

Messiah’s Name

To attempt to force any form of the sacred name hwhy into the name of the Messiah is total foolishness and violates all the accepted rules of linguistics.

The angel Gavri'el was sent by God to tell Miriam what her child’s name was to be: “You will become pregnant, you will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua.”(Luke 1:31)

An angel (the Scriptures do not identify him as Gavri'el, though I believe it probably was as he seems to be God’s primary message-bearer) told Yosef what His name was to be: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)

The Hebrew word Yeshua (h[wXy) means “salvation” — so both Miriam and Yosef were explicitly told by God’s messenger to name their child “Salvation.” When he was taken to the Temple for his dedication (circumcision), they followed the instructions they had been given: “On the eighth day, when it was time for his b'rit-milah, he was given the name Yeshua, which is what the angel had called him before his conception.” (Luke 2:21)

Messianic Believers do not refer to Him as Yeshua out of any sense of legalistic necessity, but only out of common sense and common courtesy. “Jesus” is simply not Messiah’s name; it never was, and it will never be.

Messiah is a Jew with a Hebrew name, Yeshua. It is grammatically impossible to say the word “Jesus” in either Hebrew or Aramaic. Neither language contains the necessary “jay” sound!

If I know that your name is George, just where do I get off calling you Fred just because I like that name better than your real name? And why is it that the Bible is the only book in all the world that attempts to translate names? If a book is written in Spanish about a man named Juan Rodriguez, and the book is then translated into English, no attempt is made to translate his name as John Rogers. The only reason that Yeshua is translated as “Jesus” and that the name of his brother Ya'akov is translated as “James” is because of the anti-Semitic translators who resented the fact they were both Jews! If it were ever the intent of the translators to actually translate their names into English, they would have been translated as “Salvation” and “Heel Holder” or “Supplanter” respectively! Ditto for the names Yohanan (Adonai Has Graced), Miriam (Rebellion), and Sha’ul (Desired)!

For more discussion of Messiah’s name go HERE.

The “Sacred Name” Movement

There are those, both Jews and non-Jews, who frequently refer to themselves as Sacred Namists, who insist that the Sacred Name hwhy must always be spoken, or written out, or transliterated as YHWH, YHVH, Yahweh, Yahovah, Yahowah, or some other variant, to the extent that they insert it where it really doesn’t really belong: for example the name of Yeshua must, they insist (as a condition of one’s salvation), be spelled Yahshua, because He is Yahweh come in the flesh. But they can’t seem to agree on the appropriate spelling, and each group insists that their own spelling is the only proper spelling, and all other spellings are heresy. Instead of honoring the Name, they have effectively gone so far as to reduce the Name to a “magic word” or idol to be worshipped in place of Him Who is represented by the Name.

“Sacred Namers” flagrantly violate Torah’s prohibition of misusing the Sacred Name (Exodus 20:7) and claim that in order to be “saved” one must adopt their particular spelling and pronunciation of the Names of HaShem and Yeshua HaMashiach. However, they cannot agree among themselves what that is!

The Sacred Name Movement developed from the Church of God (Seventh Day) in the 1930s. Supposedly, the movement began in response to study of Proverbs 30:4, “What is his name, and what is the name of his son?” The Sacred Name Movement teaches that only “Yahweh” is to be used as the name for God and only “Yahshua” is to be used as the name for the Messiah. According to the Sacred Name Movement, the use of any other name is blasphemy.

From the original Sacred Name Movement, several subgroups have formed, including the Assemblies of Yahweh, the Assembly of Yahweh, the House of Yahweh, and Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry.

The particular focus of the Sacred Name Movement on the names of God is unbiblical. The human authors of the Scriptures, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had no qualms about referring to God as Elohim (Hebrew). If it is biblically appropriate to use generic terms to refer to God, why is it wrong, in English, to refer to the Heavenly Father as “God”? Why would it be wrong to use the Chinese, Spanish, or Russian pronunciation of His names and titles?

Further, the adherents of the Sacred Name groups simply cannot agree on what the sacred names actually are. While “Yahweh” and “Yahshua” are the most common, some propose “Yahvah,” “Yahwah,” “Yohwah,” or” Yahowah” for God and “Yeshua” or “Yahoshua” for the Messiah. If there is only one non-blasphemous name for each of them, we better be sure to get it right. Yet adherents of the Sacred Name Movement cannot even agree on the very core of what their movement is supposed to be all about.

The Sacred Name Movement began with an unbiblical premise and has continued by building unbiblical doctrines on top of that premise. Our salvation is not dependent on our ability to properly pronounce God’s name in Hebrew, but solely upon our relationship to Yeshua HaMashiach.

Go HERE for more discussion of the sacred Name of the Most High.

Page last updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2021 12:00 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!