The Third Temple  The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!

It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith, “but avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile.” (Titus 3:9)

Caricature of Rick Sawyer pointing to the paragraphPlease Note: Absolutely nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church or anti-Rabbinic. I am not anti-anything or anti-anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth (see “Philosophy”), but sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. I know it certainly upset mine! For example, see “Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?”

Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

Caricature of Professor Rick Sawyer pointing at the text“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Bowman]

“It must be clearly and unequivocally stated that theology cannot save you. Only faith in Messiah Yeshua can save you. Theology can only give you sound doctrine.” [RLS]

Unless otherwise specified, throughout this website I use the term “Torah” in the wider sense of including the entire body of inspired Scripture — both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings.  I do not consider the Mishnah (the “Oral Torah”) as part of Torah, nor do I consder any other so-called “sacred writings” either inspired by God or authoritative for the Believer’s walk of faith. You should make up your own mind.

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]

Where Did the Word
“Jehovah” Come From?

I have recently learned that although page represents the
majority opinion on the topic, it has proven to be in error
and needs to be rewritten. For a very recent opinion, see
Some Thoughts on the Sacred Name

Next to the true name of the Messiah, one of the most common misconceptions within Christianity is that God’s Name is “Jehovah.” However, does it make any sense at all that the God of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya'acov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) would reveal Himself to them through a name that is grammatically impossible to say in their language? That's correct: it is impossible to say the work “Jehovah” in Hebrew (or Aramaic) — the letters to create those sounds simply do not exist in either the modern or ancient language of Israel and the Jews.

Well, then, where did the word “Jehovah” come from?

The Hebrew Scriptures (the books of the Tenakh or so-called “Old Testament”) were originally written almost totally in the Hebrew language, plus some few sections in Aramaic (mostly during their time in Babylon), neither language containing any vowels, only consonants. However, there were a few of those Hebrew letters that would indicate that a vowel sound should be used. For example, the letter א (aleph), while actually a consonant, would let the reader know to insert a vowel sound, and the letter ו (vav), which was pronounced somewhere between the English “V” and “W” could also be pronounced like English “oo”. The letters י (yod) and ה (heh) are also sometimes used as “place-holders” for vowels. Let’s see how this works, if you pronounce “W” like “oo” and remember to insert the appropriate vowel when you see “#”.

Most people should be able to read this sentence fairly easily without vowels.

The Jews knew what vowel sounds to be used in the pronunciation of the words based on the construction of the sentence, the context, and their excellent memories. Since very few people could afford to have written copies of even small portions of the Scriptures, huge amounts of Scripture were accurately committed to memory.

Between the sixth and tenth century after the birth of Messiah, a group of Scribes know as the Masoretes added a system of vowel points to enable the preservation of the original pronunciation. Their version of the Scriptures is know as the Masoretic Text.

13Moshe 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?” 14God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/was/will be what I am/was/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am/Was/Will Be] has sent me to you.’” 15God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘יהוה [Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh], 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.

God told MosheMoses, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh,” using forms of the verb “to be” in all three verb tenses (past, present, and future) all at once, which can be approximately translated as “I am/was/will be what I am/was/will be.” This Hebrew therefore means something similar to “The One Who exists by His own power.” Thus God is often referred to simply as “The Eternal.” Then God said to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘יהוה [Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh], 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.”

The Name by which God revealed Himself to Moshe was spelled יהוה (Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh), the Hebrew equivalent of “YHVH”. God said that this Name was the Name by  which He was to be remembered forever. However, in the third century CE, the Rabbis  created a takanot, declaring that this Name was to be considered too sacred to pronounce except by a priest when blessing-- “putting God’s Name on” — the people (Num. 6:22-27). This four-letter word is also know as the Tetragrammaton (meaning “four letters”). When reading the Scriptures or referring to the Sacred Name (HaShem), the Jews would substitute the word “Adonai,” which means “Lord.”

To indicate this substitution in the Masoretic Text, the Masoretes either omitted the vowel points completely or added the vowel points from the word אָדוֹן (adonai) to the Sacred Name, and came up with a word that would look to them something like YaHoVaH.

Since there was no such word in the Hebrew language, the reader would be forced to stop and think about what he was reading, and thus would avoid accidentally speaking the Sacred Name aloud.

Later, some Christian translators mistakenly combined the vowels of “Adonai” with the consonants of “YHVH” producing the word “YaHoVaH,” and this this unfortunate accident has carried over into many modern English translations. The term is now recognized by all proficient Bible scholars to be a late hybrid form, a translation error, that was never used by the Jews.

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:
“Jehovah-- False reading of the Hebrew YAHWEH.”
(“Jehovah,” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1973 ed.)
Encyclopedia Americana:
“Jehovah-- erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel.”
(Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 16., 1972 ed.)
Encyclopedia Britannica:
“The Masoretes who from the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah came into being.” (“Yahweh,” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 12, 1993 ed.)
The Jewish Encyclopedia:
“Jehovah-- a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible.
(“Jehovah,” The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7, 1904 ed.)
The New Jewish Encyclopedia:
“It is clear that the word Jehovah is an artificial composite.”
(“Jehovah,” The New Jewish Encyclopedia, 1962 ed.) 

According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, p. 680, vol. 7, “the true pronunciation of the tetragrammaton YHWH was never lost. The name was pronounced Yahweh. It was regularly pronounced this way at least until 586 B.C., as is clear from the Lachish Letters written shortly before this date.”

I simply cannot understand why so many Gentile Christians insist on clinging so tenaciously to so many things that have been clearly demonstrated to them to be wrong, in both their vocabulary and in their dogma, unless it is (God forbid) through the anti-Semitism that has thoroughly infiltrated the Gentile “church” since the third century, through indifference, and through a willing disobedience to the will of the Most High.

See also “Some Thoughts on the Sacred Name

Originally posted on Sunday, 14 November 2021

Page last updated on Friday, 12 April 2024 02:28 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return

Blue Letter Bible Search Tool

Range Options:

e.g. Gen;Psa-Mal;Rom 3-9