~ The Name “Jehovah” ~
Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).
There are quite a number of Jehovah titles. This series will focus on seven Jehovah titles which embrace the fullness of Jesus Christ for His people. These titles include the completeness of Jehovah’s name as it is manifested in the life of Jesus Christ for His people. These titles show how the Messiah completely meets His people’s need from their guilt to their future glory. But first it is essential that we consider the name “Jehovah.”
Background and Meaning ~ The name “Jehovah” is erroneously transliterated from the Masoretic Hebrew. The meaning of our word “Jehovah” (Yahweh, Jahveh) is “to be” or “I AM that I AM.” This is what “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’” in Exodus 3:14a. This word “Jehovah” appears nearly 7,000 times in the Word of God.
The Hebrew word consists of the consonants JHVH or JHWH—with the vowels being a separate word “Adonai” (Lord). What the original vowels were is partly a matter of speculation because the scribes of that day considered texts such as Exodus 20:7 and Leviticus 24:11 to sacred for verbal expression.
“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” (Exodus 20:7, see also Leviticus 24:10-23).
Later “Jehovah” became the standard rendition by the Hebrew translators since they did not realize what had been done by the scribes.
The result of their reverence for the name is that they began substituting the word “Lord” and transliterated the vowels into the consonantal expression JHVH.
Emphasis ~ The emphasis of the original word contains the thoughts of “being,” or "He who is" (or self-existence). Jehovah is the One who in Himself possesses essential life, or permanent existence. Jehovah is “our eternal God.” Jehovah is the holiest of all the names of God. It was considered to be such a holy name that following the Jewish exile from Babylon it was removed from Scripture and replaced with the tetragrammaton “YHWH.”
Pronounciation ~ Cases can be made for either “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.”
Usage ~ The name is used as a proper noun for God as a person and how He relates Himself to all of Creation. For example consider “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).
“Then Moses said to God, ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they say to me, “What is His name?” what shall I say to them?’ And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:13-15).
Significance ~ Remember that the word has roots in the Hebrew verb “to be” and the tense used is the indefinite which combines past, present, and future (without time). In other words God says, “I have always been, I am, and I always will be.” God is always with us. God has been with us all along. God is with us now. God will always be with us. There never has been, is not now, and never will be a time in which God is not with us! What a wonderful comforting thought.
Comment ~ Please keep this background in mind as we look at future posts in the series of seven specific titles of Jehovah.
the key question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). This is the most important question you will ever answer. If you do not answer it, or answer it incorrectly, you have made the biggest mistake anyone can make!
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW