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The Set-apart Names

In Psalms 7:17, David told us that he sang praises to the name of Yahweh Most High.

Tehillim (Psalms) 7:17
17 I will praise Yahweh according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name Yahweh Most High.

The Psalms tell us that Yahweh set upon high those who know (and call upon) His name.

Tehillim (Psalms) 91:14-16
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”

Joel tells us that when a great future disaster comes upon Israel, whoever calls upon the name of Yahweh shall be saved.

Yoel (Joel) 2:32a
32a And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved.

Zechariah tells us that Yahweh saves those who call upon His name during times of distress.

Zechariah 13:9
9 “I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘Yahweh is my Elohim.'”

Again and again, Yahweh tells us that He will save those who call upon His name. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that we should call upon it? And how can we call upon it, unless we know what it is?

However, before we talk about what Yahweh’s name is, let us talk a little bit more about what a ‘name’ is, in Hebraic thought. As in English, one’s ‘name’ is not only the physical sound, but also one’s reputation. Here is how Strong’s Hebrew Concordance defines it:

OT:8034 shem (shame); a primitive word [perhaps rather from OT:7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare OT:8064]; an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character:
KJV – base, [in-] fame [-ous], named (-d), renown, report.

Scripture tells us that we want to maintain a good name, because it is our reputation to the world.

Tehillim (Proverbs) 22:1
1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches; loving favor rather than silver and gold.

The Hebrew word for ‘name’ is “shem” (שֵׁם). However, the same consonants are also used in two other closely related words, ‘put’ (“sahm” שִֹם) and ‘heavens’ (“shamayim” שָּׁמַיִם). Notice the word plays built right into the Hebrew, as we read that Yahweh told Aharon and his sons to put (שִֹם) His heavenly (שָּׁמַיִם) name (שֵׁם) on the children of Israel, as a blessing to them.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 6:22-27
22 And Yahweh spoke to Moshe, saying:
23 “Speak to Aharon and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24 “Yahweh bless you and keep you;
25 Yahweh make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
26 Yahweh lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”‘
27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

The glorification and the exaltation of His name is so important to Him that He raised up Pharaoh, so that His name would be glorified when Pharaoh was cast down.

Shemote (Exodus) 9:16
16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth!

This is exactly what happened. More than three thousand years after Yahweh cast Pharaoh down, the world still hears about how it happened in movies like ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Prince of Egypt.’ So again, if Yahweh’s name is so important to Him that He even raises up great kings and then casts them down just so that His name will be glorified, then should we not only know what His name is, but also be careful to call Him by it?

In the Tanach (the ‘Old’ Covenant), we see how ancient Israelites tried to honor the Creator’s desire that His name be known by using it in everyday greetings. For example, the New King James Version tells us:

Root (Ruth) 2:4
4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “Yahweh be with you!”
And they answered him, “Yahweh bless you!”

We can see clearly that Yahweh’s name was used in everyday greetings back in Tanach times. We also see that men called on Yahweh’s name in Torah times.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 12:8
8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to Yahweh and called on the name of Yahweh.

So how is it that we went from using Yahweh’s name in everyday greetings (in ancient times) to how it is today, that men either do not know Yahweh’s name, or they are told not to use it?

The third commandment very explicitly tells us not to take Yahweh’s name in vain. Most people are familiar with a rendition similar to how the New King James Version puts it, with the name ‘Lord’ instead of Yahweh’s name:

Shemote (Exodus) 20:7 (NKJV)
7 “You shall not take the name of The Lord your God in vain, for The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

However, is it alright to use the name ‘Lord’ instead of Yahweh? Many believers know that the commandment not to take His name in vain means ‘not to swear falsely,’ and also ‘not to use His name in an irreverent manner.’ However, there is also a deeper level of meaning here.

The word ‘vain’ is Strong’s OT #7722, ‘lashav’ (לשוע). Strong’s tells us that this word means ‘desolating.’ This can happen when something is let ‘lie in ruins,’ or when it is ‘made useless,’ perhaps through deception.

Strong’s OT:7723 shav’ (shawv); or shav (shav); from the same as OT:7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverbially, in vain):

If we are willing to accept it, what this shows is that the third commandment is not just a commandment not to misuse the Divine Name. Rather, it also commands us not to allow the Divine Name to become ‘desolate,’ to ‘lie in ruins,’ or to ‘become useless’ through lack of use, or through a deception. However, if we are willing to accept it, this is precisely what many believers do, perhaps completely unknowingly or unintentionally.

This point can be difficult to spot when we are reading Scripture in English, because the English meanings tend to camouflage the true meanings in Hebrew. However, when we study Scripture in the original Hebrew, we find that not only is the Creator’s name not ‘Lord’—but that ‘Lord’ has another meaning altogether (and not a good one). As we will see later, “the Lord” is a different deity altogether.

Jeremiah 23:26-27
26 How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
27 who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.
26 עַד מָתַי הֲיֵשׁ בְּלֵב הַנְּבִאִים נִבְּאֵי הַשָּׁקֶר | וּנְבִיאֵי תַּרְמִת לִבָּם: 
27 הַחֹשְׁבִים לְהַשְׁכִּיחַ אֶת עַמִּי שְׁמִי בַּחֲלוֹמֹתָם אֲשֶׁר יְסַפְּרוּ אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ | כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁכְחוּ אֲבוֹתָם אֶת שְׁמִי בַּבָּעַל

Jeremiah tells us that our fathers forgot Yahweh’s name for the name of the ancient Canaanite deity Ba’al (בָּעַל). As we will see, the name Ba’al means precisely ‘lord.’

OT:1168 Ba`al (bah’-al); the same as OT:1167; Baal, a Phoenician deity: -Baal, (plural) Baalim.

When we look up the reference at OT:1167, we see that the name Ba’al can mean ‘lord.’

OT:1167 ba`al (bah’-al); from OT:1166; a master; hence, a husband, or (figuratively) owner (often used with another noun in modifications of this latter sense):
KJV – archer, babbler, bird, captain, chief man, confederate, have to do, dreamer, those to whom it is due, furious, those that are given to it, great, hairy, he that hath it, have, horseman, husband, lord, man, married, master, person, sworn, they of.

In fact, Ba’al (בַּעַל) is a term commonly used for any master, owner, or ‘lord’ of a house. For example, in Exodus 22:8, the ‘lord of the house’ is the “ba’al ha-beit” (בַּעַל הַבַּיִת).

Exodus 22:8
8 If the thief is not found, then the lord of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor’s goods.
 7 אִם לֹא יִמָּצֵא הַגַּנָּב וְנִקְרַב בַּעַל הַבַּיִת אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים | אִם לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ בִּמְלֶאכֶת רֵעֵהוּ

But if Ba’al is a common title for a master or an owner, then why does Yahweh not want us to use this title with regards to Him? It is because it is not His name.

Yahweh’s name is not ‘Master,’ ‘Lord’ or ‘God’ any more than ‘President’ or ‘Prime Minister’ is any human being’s name. While we might think we are being respectful to call a man ‘Mister President,’ if he then asks us to call him by his name (rather than his title), but still we call him ‘President’ (or ‘Prime Minister’), then we are actually showing him disrespect, because we are not listening to him, nor obeying him.

There are other reasons as well. Ba’al is universally recognized as the name of an ancient Canaanite deity. To use the name Ba’al in reference to Yahweh is to call Him by the name of an idol, yet this is precisely what many believers do. Since ‘Lord’ means Ba’al, when we call Yahweh by the name ‘Lord’ we allow His name to lie in ruins, and His name becomes useless because of a deception. This is what the third commandment tells us not to do.

Hosea also tells us that our fathers have forgotten Yahweh’s name for Ba’al (The Lord). This would seem to indicate that they are two different deities. He also says that when we are taken to Him in marriage, that we will no longer call Him ‘Lord,’ but “Ishi” (My Man).

Hoshea 2:16-17
16 “And it shall be, in that day,” says Yahweh, “That you will call Me ‘Ishi’ (My Man), and no longer call Me ‘My Baal’ (My Lord),
17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, and they shall be remembered by their name no more.
16 וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַהוּא נְאֻם יְהוָה תִּקְרְאִי אִישִׁי | וְלֹא תִקְרְאִי לִי עוֹד בַּעְלִי: 
17 וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת שְׁמוֹת הַבְּעָלִים מִפִּיהָ | וְלֹא יִזָּכְרוּ עוֹד בִּשְׁמָם

Yahweh does not want His bride to call Him ‘Baal’ (Lord). He wants His bride to call Him ‘Ishi’ (My Man), because there is more intimacy in this name.

So if our Creator does not like to be called ‘Lord,’ then what is our Creator’s name? Certainly we must know what His name is, if we are to praise His name, and make it known in all the earth.

There is an argument that the Creator’s name is “I am,” and there are also arguments for other spellings and pronunciations for the Creator’s name. However, Yahweh tells us that His name is Yahweh. He tells us that this is His name forever, and that it is a memorial to all of our generations.

Exodus 3:15
15 Moreover Elohim said to Moshe, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitzhak, and the Elohim of Yaakov, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’
15 וַיֹּאמֶר עוֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶל מֹשֶׁה כֹּה תֹאמַר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם | זֶה שְּׁמִי לְעֹלָם וְזֶה זִכְרִי לְדֹר דֹּר

Remembering that Hebrew reads from right to left, the name Yahweh is spelled Yod-Hay-Vav-Hay (יהוה). There is no way to pronounce this as ‘Lord.’

Most mainstream commentators have rendered the pronunciation of יהוה as ‘Jehovah.’ However, this cannot be correct, as there has never been any letter ‘J’ (or any ‘J’ sound) in Hebrew.

Since the third commandment tells us not to allow His name to lie in ruins, and since Yahweh tells us that He will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name, there is naturally a great deal of passionate debate about how exactly His name is best pronounced. I do not take issue with anyone’s personal conviction about how Yahweh’s name is to be pronounced, so long as they are doing their best, as they feel convicted.

There are several traditional pronunciations for יהוה, but the main pronunciations are ‘Yahweh,’ ‘Yahuweh,’ ‘Yehovah’ and others. A lot of the difficulty comes in because the third letter (ו) can sound either like an “oo” (letter U), a ‘W,’ or like a ‘V,’ depending on context.

י Letter Yod. Sounds like “yee”
ה Letter Hay. Sounds like “h” (H)
ו Letter Vav. Sounds like ‘oo,’ ‘w,’ or ‘v’
ה Letter Hay. Sounds like “h” (H)

Perhaps ninety percent of all Hebrew scholars agree that the name יהוה is probably correctly pronounced either ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Yahuweh.’ This is also how the Samaritans still pronounce His name.

Alternately, if we believe that the vowel points in the Masoretic Text (modern Hebrew Tanach) are accurate, then we would probably believe His name is pronounced ‘Yehovah’ (יְהוָה) as this is the sound that the consonants and vowel points (יְהוָה) make.

יְ Sounds like “yee” or “yuh”
ה Sounds like “h” (“o” sound is assumed)
וָ Sounds like ‘va’
ה Final ‘h’ sound (soft)

However, since vowel points do not show up in Hebrew documents until the Middle Ages, this reading is highly suspect, and cannot be proven.

Without vowel points, Yahweh or Yahuweh is the most likely reading. However, since no one really knows (or can know) exactly how Yahweh’s name is pronounced, I take no issue with anyone who feels convicted of a different pronunciation. In fact, it may be that Yahweh left the pronunciation of His name deliberately vague, so that He could see how His people treat each other when there is an important point of disagreement.

The Messiah’s Name

Scripture also tells us that there is only one name given under Heaven among men, by which men must be saved.

Ma’asim (Acts) 4:12
12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

In the West, our Messiah is commonly called ‘Jesus Christ.’ However, the title ‘Christ’ is not a Hebrew term. Since the Greeks incorporated foreign elohim (gods) into their pantheon, and since Alexander’s empire had extended all the way to India, there is some speculation that the term ‘Christ’ may perhaps be a derivation of ‘Krishna,’ a Hindu war god.

The Hebrew term for Messiah is ‘Mashiach’ (מְשִׁיחַ), and it refers to someone who has been anointed to a specific task or role. King David and King Shaul were also anointed ones.

1 Samuel 26:16
16 This thing that you have done is not good. As Yahweh lives, you deserve to die, because you have not guarded your master, Yahweh’s anointed.
16 לֹא טוֹב הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ חַי יְהוָה כִּי בְנֵי מָוֶת אַתֶּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא שְׁמַרְתֶּם עַל אֲדֹנֵיכֶם עַל מְשִׁיחַ יְהוָה

English speakers tend to place little emphasis on words and their sounds, typically believing that names are generally irrelevant: Shakespeare said that “A rose by any other name smells just as sweet.” However, this is not Scriptural. In Hebraic thought, words and their sounds are very important, for it was by words that the Creator called the world into being. In science, ‘String Theory’ is now used to explain how all matter is essentially just energy that resonates at particular frequencies: in other words, at different sonic vibrations. If one changes the specific frequency the energy resonates at, the energy takes on a different form. In other words, if one changes the sound, one changes the nature of the matter. And so too is it with the Messiah’s name.

The name ‘Jesus’ cannot be the Messiah’s real Hebrew name, as there has never been any letter ‘J’ (or any ‘J’ sound) in the Hebrew language. However, if there is only one name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, then what is that name?

Hebrews normally give their children Scriptural names, and there are two interesting typos in the King James Version which show us the Messiah was actually given the same name as Joshua the son of Nun, because they use the name ‘Jesus’ to refer to things that Joshua the son of Nun did.

Ma’asim (Acts) 7:45 (KJV)
45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus [sic] into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David.

Ivrim (Hebrews) 4:8 (KJV)
8 For if Jesus [sic] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Both of these passages use the name ‘Jesus,’ but they speak of things that pertain to the life story of Joshua, the son of Nun. However, since the translators who took the Renewed Covenant writings out of the original Hebrew and/or Aramaic (and put them over into Greek) probably had very little knowledge of the Tanach (‘Old’ Covenant), they probably mistook the reference to Joshua as a reference to the Messiah.

Yehoshua the son of Nun was originally named ‘Hoshea’ (הוֹשֵׁעַ), which means ‘salvation’ (Numbers 13:8, 16). However, Moshe (Moses) called Hoshea ‘Yah-Hoshea’ (יְהוֹשׁוּעַ). This name means a number of different things, including ‘Yahuweh saves’ and ‘the salvation of Yahuweh.’

Numbers 13:16b
16b And Moshe called Hoshea the son of Nun, Yehoshua.
16 וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה לְהוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן נוּן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ:

Notice when Moshe renamed Hoshea ‘Yah-Hoshea,’ the vowels all changed. ‘Yah’ became ‘Yeh,’ and ‘Hoshea’ became ‘Hoshua.’ Yet because Hebrew grammar works differently than English grammar does, this name still means ‘Yahuweh saves,’ or ‘the salvation of Yahuweh.’

Hebrews frequently abbreviate names because they prize economy of effort. Joshua’s name is only spelled in its full six letter form (יְהוֹשׁוּעַ) twice. It appears once in Deuteronomy 3:21, and then in Judges 2:7, where it is spelled both in its six letter form (יְהוֹשׁוּעַ) and in its abbreviated five letter form (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ). This shows us that contractions are ‘kosher’ in Hebraic thought.

Judges 2:7
7 So the people served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of Yahweh which He had done for Israel.
 7 וַיַּעַבְדוּ הָעָם אֶת יְהוָה כֹּל יְמֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ | וְכֹל יְמֵי הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר הֶאֱרִיכוּ יָמִים אַחֲרֵי יְהוֹשׁוּעַ אֲשֶׁר רָאוּ אֵת כָּל מַעֲשֵׂה יְהוָה הַגָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל

Because the vowel points change, יְהוֹשׁוּעַ and יְהוֹשֻׁעַ are both pronounced the same way.

However, while the ancient pronunciation of Joshua’s name in the Tanach never changed, the contemporary usage of Joshua’s name did.

Earlier we saw how Israelites in ancient times kept the third commandment (not to let His name lie in ruins) by speaking His name in greetings and blessings (as in Ruth 2:4). Further, the Priesthood was told to bless the children of Israel aloud in Yahweh’s name.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 6:22-27
22 And יהוה spoke to Moses, saying:
23 “Speak to Aharon and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24 “יהוה bless you and keep you;
25 יהוה make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 יהוה lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”‘
27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

When the Jews went into exile in Babylon, the Levitical priestly lineage was lost. Because someone had to serve the Jews spiritually, the rabbinical order arose. However, the rabbinical order also brought a large number of other man-made traditions into Judaism at this time.

Marduk was the chief elohim (god) of the Babylonians. During the time Judah was in exile, the Babylonians considered Marduk’s name so ‘holy’ that it was not to be pronounced. Instead, the people were to call him ‘Bel’ (meaning ‘Lord’). If we compare this Babylonian term Bel (Lord) to Ba’al (Lord), we can see that they are both the same word (Lord).

While history does not record how it happened, legend holds that the Babylonians ridiculed the Israelites for pronouncing Yahweh’s name aloud, calling them ‘Yahoos.’ Since the rabbis felt it was important to keep Yahweh’s name from being taken in vain (even by the Babylonians) they instituted a ruling that Yahweh’s name could no longer be pronounced. Instead, they ruled that the Jews should use the substitute term ‘Adonai’ (Master), and the term HaShem (the Name) was approved as a substitute. Yet substituting the term Master or Lord transgresses the intent of the Third Commandment, which tells us not to let Yahweh’s name lie in ruins, and not to make it useless, either by a lack of use, or by deception (or substitution).

Strong’s OT:7723 shav’ (shawv); or shav (shav); from the same as OT:7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverbially, in vain):

Taking matters one step further, the rabbis also altered Joshua’s name. In Hebraic thought, names beginning in יה (‘Yah’) or יהו (‘Yahu’ or ‘Yeho’) are considered to contain the Divine Name. Therefore, perhaps with the very best of intentions of keeping Yahweh’s name from being taken in vain, the rabbis ruled that any name beginning with יה or יהו (such as יהושע) should have the Hay (ה) removed. Thus Joshua’s name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ took on a different form.

As we saw in Judges 2:7, Joshua’s name is spelled in two different ways: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ and יְהוֹשׁוּעַ. By using the six-letter form, but deleting the letters Hay and Vav (הוֹ) in order to hide Yahweh’s name, Joshua’s name is then spelled ישוע, and due to the rules of Hebrew grammar the vowel points also change.

יְהוֹשֻׁעַ = Yehoshua
יְהוֹשׁוּעַ = Yehoshua
יהושוע = Yehoshua
יֵשׁוּעַ = Yeshua

This shortened four letter form, ‘Yeshua’ (יֵשׁוּעַ) is the one commonly used in Scripture after the Babylonian Exile. For example, Ezra 3:2 explains how Yeshua the son of Yehotzadak, the first high priest of the Second Temple, built an altar to Yahweh.

Ezra 3:2
2 Then Yeshua the son of Yotzadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the Elohim of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Torah of Moshe, the man of Elohim.
2 וַיָּקָם יֵשׁוּעַ בֶּן יוֹצָדָק וְאֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים וּזְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל וְאֶחָיו וַיִּבְנוּ אֶת מִזְבַּח אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל | לְהַעֲלוֹת עָלָיו עֹלוֹת כַּכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים

Sometimes those who do not speak Hebrew reject the idea that the name Yehoshua can begin with a ‘Yeh’ sound. This argument is usually based on John 5:43, which tells us Yeshua came in His Father’s name.

Yochanan (John) 5:43
43 “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”

According to this line of reasoning:

  1. since Yeshua came in His Father Yahuweh’s name, and since
  2. Yahuweh’s name begins with a ‘Yah’ when spelled in English, then
  3. Yeshua’s name must also begin with a ‘Yah’ (and not a ‘Yeh’) in English; and therefore
  4. the spelling Yeshua is wrong, and those calling on the name Yeshua are not saved, according to the dictates of Acts 4:12.

Ma’asim (Acts) 4:12
12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The problem is that Hebrew pronunciation does not adhere to the English rules of grammar. Further, even if it hypothetically did, English assigns different sounds to the same word when placed in different contexts. For example, the word ‘potent’ sounds different when it is part of the larger word ‘omnipotent.’ Also, the dipthong ‘ough’ takes on different pronunciations when used in the words ‘bough,’ ‘cough,’ ‘through’ and ‘trough.’ In much the same way, the vowel sounds assigned to different consonants in Hebrew can also change, when the consonants within the word are changed.

If we read John 5:43 in its greater context, we can also glean an important contextual cue:

Yochanan (John) 5:43-44
43 “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only Elohim?”

In context, when Yeshua said He came in His Father’s name, He was not likely referring to the pronunciation. Rather, He was probably saying that He came in His Father’s honor, authority and character.

OT:8034 shem (shame); a primitive word [perhaps rather from OT:7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare OT:8064]; an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character:
KJV – base, [in-] fame [-ous], named (-d), renown, report.

It is probably also the idea of honor and authority that Yeshua was referring to in the Great Commission.

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 28:18-20
18 And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in My name*,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amein.

[*For why we immerse only in Yeshua’s name, please see “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Only,” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.]

Some feel that because the original form of Yeshua’s name had either five or six letters, the five or six letter forms are more appropriate. Thus, even if a man Richard chooses to call himself Rich, we should call him by his full name, Richard, out of honor and respect. This can never be wrong, but since the four letter form יֵשׁוּעַ was the one commonly used during the time Yeshua lived, it is logical that this is the name He called Himself. This is much the same as a man’s proper name in English might be Richard, while his friends might call him Richard, Rich, Rick or Dick. Any or all of these are Richard’s name if he chooses to call himself by them, but since Yeshua was raised in the Second Temple Period, and since the name Yeshua was (and is) considered to have Yahuweh’s name in it, this is probably the name Yeshua called Himself.

However, the rabbis teach an acronym that is intended to be a slur against Yeshua’s name, and this acronym is wrong to use. That acronym is ‘Yeshu’ (ישו or יש”ו), and it stands for “y’mach shemi v’zichro” (יִמַּח שְׁמוֹ וְזִכְרוֹ), which means, “Let His name and memory be blotted out.” While we cannot approve of this acronym, it is interesting that the rabbis would use an acronym that resembles Yeshua’s four letter name. The resemblance of this substitute seems to support the idea that Yeshua went by the short four etter form of His name during His lifetime.

Surely we should avoid rabbinic slurs such as ‘Yeshu,’ yet we should also ‘give grace’ to others with regards to their use of the names. While we cherish the fact that Yahweh has revealed His name to us, it is only by the power of the Ruach HaQodesh (Set-apart Spirit) that any human being ever calls on Yahweh’s or Yeshua’s names to begin with. So as long as they are pronouncing the names as they feel convicted, who are we to argue?

As is the saying of our fathers: People do not care how much we know, until they know how much we care.

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 5:16
16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Love is the heart of the Torah. If we do not show love for our brothers when discussing our convictions about the names with them, then what will our brothers think? And if we are not willing to extend favor or ‘grace’ to others, then what spirit is in us really?

All of us should pray to be filled only with His love and concern, so that it will shine forth from us as a witness when discussing our convictions: and let us leave judgment about whether or not anyone else is saved up to the only One who is qualified to judge.

In Yeshua’s name,


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