“Moshe said to God, Look, when I appear before the people of Isra’el and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?’ God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],’ and added, ‘Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.’ God said further to Moshe, ‘Say this to the people of Isra’el: Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation’” (Exodus 3:13-15, Complete Jewish Bible).
The Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh or the “I am/will be what I am/will be” is transliterated from the Hebrew יהוה as yod-hey-vav-hey. For centuries the name of yod-hey-vav-hey has been considered too holy to speak; consequently, the actual pronunciation of God’s memorial name has been lost. It was replaced in Jewish tradition with HaShem meaning ‘The Name’ or Adonai meaning ‘Lord.’ In more Orthodox communities, 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 states 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 letter vav can be spoken as a hard or soft vowel sound which creates numerous differences of opinion for speaking these letters. It could be that the unknown sound with the vav comes from the ‘breath’ of God ruach.
The spoken memorial name of God will be revealed by Him in the future as prophecies come to pass. In this book, I will most often use God or Adonaifor the yod-hey-vav-hey; Adonai will be used in quoted Scriptures, and when I want to emphasize His name, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh meaning “I am who I am.” I want to use His Name to the best of my understanding, especially in these last days when the names of foreign gods are becoming more familiar within our world’s culture.
“I am the LORD (Adonai); 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 alef-bet is a word picture derived from what the letter looks like. When letter pictures are put together, unique meanings to words and phrases appear. Throughout this book, I will include some Hebrew Word Pictures to give another insight into events or names.
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh or yod-hey-vav-hey
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 or Echad. He gave His divine memorial name to Moses, however, multiple attributes of His character are seen in compound forms with His name throughout the Scriptures. In the beginning, Adonai did not reveal His name to the patriarchs, but His character.
The Name of yod-hey-vav-hey 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 Adonai bless you and keep you.]
Ya’er יהוה panav eleikha vichunekka.
[May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.]
Yissa יהוה panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom.
[May Adonai 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 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of the complet article that also includes the character ‘names’ of Adonai, please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.