YHVH has been found in over 1000 Hebrew manuscripts as of 2018, with the full vowels (more on that later). The point is, the scribes knew the name, have always known the name, and were intent on hiding how to pronounce the name. Every once in awhile, a scribe would “slip up” and put in the full vowels (sheva, cholam, kamatz), which is an easy mistake to make. Over time, they started putting the missing vowel “o” (cholam) all the time, especially when it was being printed, like the Rabbinic Bible of 1524, where it appears most of the time with full vowels.
Now, there are some who will say, “The Jews were so meticulous in transcribing the Scriptures that to say they deliberately left out the vowels is far fetched.” Well, first of all, the way the name normally appears in the Masoretic text is with the vowels missing. That’s just the way it is. The common explanation is by Gesenius who says that the vowels in YHVH are actually the vowels in the Aramaic word for HaShem, but there is no evidence for that, he made it up.
They were meticulous, but if the name YHVH is used over 1000 times and only a couple of times it had the full vowels (like in the British Oriental 4445 manuscript), that is still very meticulous. If you look at human DNA, it has mutations more frequently than what these scribes did in copying the name.
However, in the Leningrad Codex, in a verse in Psalms, it says, “YHVH” and in the Aleppo Codex it is “Adonai.” That is a huge difference. That is why YHVH is used 6,828 times in the Leningrad Codex and 6827 times in the Aleppo Codex. We are not talking about vowels but four consonants. It happens. So, a vowel is missing, except once in awhile it has full vowels (sheva, cholam, kamatz). Those full vowels always spell “Yehovah.” Those full vowels are never Yahweh, Yahveh, Yehowah, Yehuah or whatever name people think it is.
Even in Rabbinic literature the name has “slipped out.” There are over eleven rabbis today who say the name is pronounced Yehovah. But, the manuscript evidence now is more important than what the rabbis say, in our opinion. Individual rabbis have other pronunciations. The fact is, the rabbis are hiding the name and they are not proclaiming it from the mountain tops.
The name Yehovah (YHVH) means, “Who was, who is, who is to come.” It is a combination of three forms of this Hebrew root: Hayah (he was), Hoveh (he is) and Yihyeh (I will be). Heb 13.8 and Rev 1. 4, 8, 19 says this. Yeshua actually says he is Yehovah. He existed in the past, exists now ans always will exist. This idea is combined in the Gospels and Epistles with the phrase “Alpha and Omega” (Aleph-Tav in Hebrew), meaning the “first and the last” and so on. This is a Hebraic way of saying “eternal.”
Exo 3.14-15 tells us that God said in Hebrew, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” or “I will be.” It is an explanation for his name YHVH in verse 15 (Yehovah). There are those who say, “God told me in a dream (or a vision, etc) his name is Yehvah (or Yahuah, or Yahweh).” Who are we to dispute that, but, based on the information we have in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts, solid logic on the Hebrew language by people who know, and reasoning within the rules of Hebrew, we believe the name is Yehovah. We don’t have a recording of Moses on Mount Sinai, but we do have is a transcript of that conversation. If God speaks to you and he says it is something else, don’t listen to us. But you must discern that it was truly God speaking.
In the Lord’s Prayer, it says in Hebrew “Yishkadesh Shimcha.” It means, “May your name be sanctified.” It is a call to do something. If we are to sanctify the name of God, what is his name? When you ask people, “What is his name” you will get El Shaddai, El Elyon, and many other titles, very beautiful. However, he only has one name. That is the name he gave to Moses in Exo 3.15.
The forefathers of the Hebrews worshiped many gods. Abraham’s father Terah did. In Egypt there were many gods and Pharaoh even said he did not know the God Moses was speaking about. So, Moses really wanted to know “What name should I say?” (Exo 3.13). The answer was in Exo 3.15, “Thus shall you say to the children of Israel; “YHVH, 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, this is my memorial-name to all generations.” That name is Yehovah. If you have another way of saying his name search it out for yourself. According to the Hebrew manuscripts it is Yehovah. How do we know that name is relevant today? Exo 3.15 says, “forever.” Are we still in “forever?” L’Olam in Hebrew means for the duration of the universe. Olam also has the same vowels as Yehovah. Good way to remember if one ever forgot, forever! This name is for everyone (Psa 148.11-13).
In the original 1611 King James Version, the title page has the name written with the vowel markings at the top of the page in Hebrew. It is preserved in seven places in the KJV. The translators said if they write “Lord” it won’t make any sense. One example is Psa 83.18. Most other translations have “the Lord.” This changes the meaning. In most bibles, the name Yehovah is written as “the Lord” in all caps. This name appears 6,828 times. That is more than all the titles of God put together. So, we know this name is important. The reason we don’t see the name in our bibles is the English translators learned how to translate Hebrew from the rabbis. They told the English translators about the tradition that said whenever you see the name of God (YHVH), you read it as “Lord” (Adonai). However, in Hebrew the name is there. This is tradition, not Scripture.
There is an older tradition that predates the current tradition that says, “A man is required to greet his fellow using the Name” (Mishnah, Berachot 9.7). So, this was the original Jewish tradition and it predates not using the name. This tradition of using the name in a greeting is based on Ruth 2.4 where it says, “Behold, Boaz was coming from Bethlehem and he said to the harvesters, ‘Yehovah (YHVH) be with you!’ And they said to him, ‘Yehovah bless you!'” That was the tradition in ancient Israel. Yeshua will be coming in that name, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (Yehovah)!”
There is a tomb in Galilee of a man named Rabbi Hananiah Ben Teradion. It is not marked on any maps, it is not a secret, but you have to look for it. This rabbi was murdered during the reign of Hadrian and burned at the stake. He was wrapped in a Torah scroll and burned. The Talmud says it was because he spoke the name of God the way it was written. When he was teaching and he came upon the name YHVH, he proclaimed Yehovah. The Romans had banned the speaking of the name.
R. Teradion had a daughter named Beruriah (we have mentioned her before in other teachings). She was the wife of Rabbi Meir, and she was a sage and a scholar, and is quoted in the Talmud (Berakot 10a; Eruvin 53b; Pesachim 62b). She is also mentioned in the Tosefta (Keilim Kamma 4.9; Keilim Metzia 1.3). She is credited for the saying, “Hate the sin but love the sinner” among other wise sayings. The prohibition of the name came shortly after this. They saw a threat and adapted. They did not think this would last forever, but just till Messiah comes, which could be next week, they thought. Well, Messiah has come and the prohibition does not apply.
In Part 3 we will pick up here.