The Memorial Name of God – יהוה

“Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’  Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, ‘I AM who I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’.  God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you.  This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation” (Exodus 3:13-15).

In Hebrew the “I Am who I Am” is יהוה.  For centuries the ‘Yod Hey Vav Hey’ has been considered too holy to speak and thus the actual pronunciation of God’s memorial name has been lost.  It was replaced in Jewish thinking with HaShem meaning ‘The Name’  or Adonai meaning ‘Lord’.  The words ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ have their vowels removed and become G-d and L-rd to show respect for God’s name.  Because of these historical and cultural anomalies, the Preface in most Bibles says that the divine name for God or Tetragrammaton has been changed from the יהוה to LORD with all capitals letters.

Using modern Hebrew, the יהוה or ‘Yod Hey Vav Hey’ could be pronounced Yahweh or Yahveh.   The Waw or Vav can be used as a hard or soft vowel sound – v or ooo – which also causes many differences of opinion for speaking these letters.   It could be that the unknown sound with the Vav comes from the Spirit of God or the Ruach רוח.    So the name of God could be said Yahooowaaaay breathing out deeply or Yah-way with a ‘w’ sounding breathy.

However the name of God is to be spoken, it will be revealed by Him in the future as prophecies come to pass.  As I write, I will most often use God or LORD for the ‘Yod Hey Vav Hey‘ and only when I  want to emphasize His name, Yahweh or YHVH.    I do this to be respectful, however, being that God does have a ‘memorial name forever’, I believe in trying to use it to the best of our understanding especially in these last days when names of foreign gods are becoming more pronounced within our world’s culture.   

“I am YHVH (Yahweh); that is my name. I yield my glory to no one else, nor my praise to any idol” (Isaiah 42:8).

“Who has gone up to heaven and come down?  Whose hands have gathered up the wind?  Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?  Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son?  Surely you know!” (Proverbs 30:4).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet or aleph-bet is a word picture.  When word pictures are put together, unique meanings to words appear.   Here are the Hebrew word pictures for the name of God: Yod Hey Vav Hey (Yahweh or YHVH in English).

יהוה

Yod י – A Closed Hand means ‘a  ‘finished work’

Hey ה – A Window means ‘behold or reveal’ 

Vav ו –   A Nail means ‘binding or connecting to’

Hey ה – A Window means ‘behold or reveal’ 

The Hebrew word picture for Yod Hey Vav Hey: “Behold the finished work of the binding revealed.”

God is One.  He  gave His divine name given to Moses, however, multiple attributes are seen in compound forms with His name throughout the Scriptures.   In the beginning, יהוה did not reveal His name to the patriarchs, but His character.

The Name of יהוה on His People

“The LORD said to Moshe, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, and tell them that this is how you are to bless the people of Israel: you are to say to them,

“Y’varekh’kha יהוה v’yishmerekha.
[May Yahweh bless you and keep you.]

Ya’er יהוה panav eleikha vichunekka.
[May Yahweh make his face shine on you and show you his favor.]

Yissa יהוה panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom.
[May Yahweh lift up his face toward you and give you peace.]’

In this way they are to put my name on the people of Israel, so that I will bless them”

(Numbers 6:22-27).

©2010 Tent Stake Ministries (from Journey With Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)

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