OTTC Genesis 2:4: Is the Father’s Personal Name Important?

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

“Jehovah” (Heb., הוהי, YHWH), God’s personal name, initially occurs in Genesis 2:4. The ultimate disgrace that modern translators render to the heavenly Father of the Holy Scriptures is eliminating or disguising his personal name. In fact, His name occurs in the Hebrew text 6,828 times as הוהי (JHVH), usually referred to as the Tetragrammaton (i.e., “having four letters”). By retaining the name “Jehovah,” the UASV has followed in the footsteps of the 1901 ASV. It has also and remained faithful to the original-language texts and has not followed in the footsteps of those who have substituted titles such as “Lord,” “the Lord,” “Adonai” or “God” for the personal name of the Father, the Tetragrammaton.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

To Whom Should We Pray

For this modern world of interfaith,[1] involving persons of different religious faiths who hold the position that they can bring about peace and unity in a divided world by their joining, believing that all religions are acceptable, regardless of their differences. Therefore, these modernist ones believe that all prayers go to the same place regardless of whether one prays to Jehovah of Israel and Christians, Allah of the Muslims, Krishna of the Hindus, or Akal Purakh of the Sikhs, and so on. Is interfaith reasonable as far as the Bible is concerned?

Yes, for true Christians, the Bible, particularly an excellent literal translation, is their guidebook. The Bible tells us of an all-powerful Creator, whose name is Jehovah (Psa. 83:18, KJV), who created other powerful spirit persons (Cherubs, Seraphs, angels), long before the creation of the universes, which includes the earth, and finally the creation of man and woman. It tells us of a rebellion in the Garden of Eden, where Adam sinned against his Creator, believing a rebel angel, who said that Adam and Eve could walk on their own and did not really need their Creator. The Bible tells us that they were expelled from the Garden of Eden and the tree of life before having children. Sin and death entered the world that day, and Adam, Eve, and their offspring started to get ill, grow old and die. It also became common for those people in many thousands of generations after that to direct to their prayers to carved images, to false gods, like the Babylonian Marduk and Tammuz, the Assyrian Asshur, the Egyptian Osiris, his consort Isis, and their son Horus. In addition, there were the Canaanite gods El and Baal, the Medo-Persian god Zoroaster, the Grecian god Zeus, who was the sky and thunder god, who ruled as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. The Roman triad of Jupiter (the king of the gods of the sky and light), Juno (the queen of the gods and wife of Jupiter, who presided over matters concerning to women), and Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and patron of arts, trade, and the art of war, who was born fully armed from the head of Jupiter. However, the one true God of the Bible, Jehovah, regularly warned,

Psalm 115:3-6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

But our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of the hands of man.
They have mouths, but cannot speak;
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear;
noses, but cannot smell.

The Bible is filled with prayers, with God by way of his authors talking about the importance of prayers, and sadly the fact that many prayers are often directed to false gods or some carved image. Many times, over, the Scriptures warn against such practices. In many ways, the Bible tells us of the foolish ones who misdirected their prayers to a god who could not hear them because they were made of stone, wood, or some other carved object. Many may recall the true prophet Elijah challenged four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He had asked them to pray to their god, to bring fire to a sacrificial bull atop a wooden altar. After that, Elijah would pray to Jehovah, the God of Israel. In this test, they would discover who the true God was. The Baal prophets accepted the challenge, praying from morning until noon, so much so, they worked themselves up even with loud outcries.

Then, at noon, Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” So, they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. Noon was passed, and they prophesied in a frenzy until the evening grain offering was presented, but there was no voice and no one answering. No one was paying attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of Jehovah that had been thrown down. Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Jehovah came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” and with the stones, he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull into pieces, and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Jehovah, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Jehovah, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Jehovah, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the Jehovah fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “Jehovah, he is God; Jehovah, he is God.” – 1 Kings 18:20-39.

Baal, which means “owner” or “master,” was the god of the Canaanites, “lord of Canaanite religion and seen in the thunderstorms, Baal was worshiped as the god who provided fertility. He proved a great temptation for Israel. ‘Baal’ occurs in the OT as a noun meaning ‘lord, owner, possessor, or husband,’ as a proper noun referring to the supreme god of the Canaanites, and often as the name of a man. The noun comes from a verb that means to marry or rule over. The verb form occurs in the Hebrew text 29 times, whereas the noun occurs 166 times. The noun appears in a number of compound forms which are proper names for locations where Canaanite deities were worshiped, such as Baal-peor (Num. 25:5; Deut. 4:3; Ps. 106:28; Hos. 9:10), Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chron. 5:23), and Baal-gad (Josh. 11:17; 12:7; 13:5).[2] On the other hand, sadly, modern publishers sadly removed Jehovah, the Father’s personal name from the Bible.

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM

Actually, the Father’s personal name occurs in the Hebrew text 6,828 times as הוהי (YHWH or JHVH), generally referred to as the Tetragrammaton, which literally means, “having four letters.” By removing the Father’s personal name, Jehovah, modern translators have violated God’s Word where it says to not add nor take away, and they have failed to be faithful to the original. Instead, these modern translations have followed the practice of substituting titles such as “Lord,” “the Lord,” “Adonai” or “God” for the divine name. Before we take a brief moment to look into this allegation. Let us go back 1,900 years when there was the practice of substituting titles (e.g., Lord) for the Father’s personal name that developed among the Jews and was applied in later copies of the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and many other translations.

Now, let us take a moment to look at when the Father’s personal name was restored to God’s Word. William Tyndale first restored the Father’s personal name, Jehovah, to the English Bible. In 1530, he published a translation of the first five books of the Bible into English. He included Jehovah’s name once, in Ex 6:3. In a note in this edition, Tyndale wrote, “Iehovah is God’s name … Moreover, as oft as thou seist LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing) it is in Hebrew Iehovah.” Following in the footsteps of Tyndale, other translators of the time began to use the Father’s name in a few places out of the 6,828 times that it occurs in the Hebrew Old Testament. Instead, they chose to write “LORD” or “GOD” in most places where the Father’s personal name occurs in Hebrew. This is true of the 1611 King James Version as well, where Jehovah’s name occurs only four times, namely, in Ex 6:3; Ps 83:18; Isa 12:2; 26:4.

Most translations use all capital letters to make the title ‘LORD.’ Exceptions are the American Standard Version, which uses ‘Jehovah,’ over 5,000 times. In contrast, the Amplified Bible uses ‘Lord,’ and The Jerusalem Bible, the Lexham English Bible, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible uses ‘Yahweh.’

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

How Some Translators Feel about the Personal Name of God

American Standard Version of 1901: “[The translators] were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament . . . This Memorial Name, explained in Ex. iii. 14, 15, and emphasized as such over and over in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the personal God, as the covenant God, the God of revelation, the Deliverer, the Friend of his people . . . This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim.”

Steven T. Byington, translator of The Bible in Living English, explains why he uses God’s name: “The spelling and the pronunciation are not highly important. What is highly important is to keep it clear that this is a personal name. There are several texts that cannot be properly understood if we translate this name by a common noun like ‘Lord,’ or, much worse, by a substantivized adjective [for example, the Eternal].”

Holman Christian Standard Bible of 2003: However, the HCSB OT uses Yahweh, the personal name of God in Hebrew, when a biblical text emphasizes Yahweh as a name: “His name is Yahweh” (Ps 68:4). Yahweh is also used in places of His self-identification, as in “I am Yahweh” (Is 42:8). Yahweh is used more often in the HCSB than in most Bible translations because the word Lord in English is a title of God and does not accurately convey to modern readers the emphasis on God’s personal name in the original Hebrew.

is-the-quran-the-word-of-god UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM THE GUIDE TO ANSWERING ISLAM.png

How Does the Father Feel About His Own Personal Name?

Isaiah 42:8 American Standard Version (ASV)

8 I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.

Malachi 3:16 American Standard Version (ASV)

16 Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another; and Jehovah hearkened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name.

Micah 4:5 American Standard Version (ASV)

5 For all the peoples walk everyone in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.

Proverbs 18:10 American Standard Version (ASV)

10 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it, and is safe.

Joel 2:32 American Standard Version (ASV)

32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah doth call.

REASONABLE FAITH

Why Do Most Translations Leave It Out?

The Bible: An American Translation of 1935: “In this translation, we have followed the orthodox Jewish tradition and substituted ‘the Lord’ for the name ‘Yahweh’ and the phrase ‘the Lord God’ for the phrase ‘the Lord Yahweh.’ In all cases where ‘Lord’ or ‘God’ represents an original ‘Yahweh’ small capitals are employed.

AUTHOR RESPONSE: The question that quickly comes to mind is, ‘did Jesus not say something about Jewish tradition and God’s Word?’ Yes, at Mark 7:13, he said to the Jewish religious leaders that they were “making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” Therefore, the following question that begs to be answered is, ‘why on earth would we follow the Jewish tradition of removing God’s personal name if Jesus condemned them for just such type of activity?’ The other question that we might ask is, ‘who is the one person who would like to see God’s personal name removed from the Bible? Satan? Does a personal name not signify a personal relationship? Are we not seeking a personal relationship with God? Did God not personally give us his personal name?

Revised Standard Version of 1952: “For two reasons the Committee has returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version [that is, omitting the name of God]: (1) the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew; and (2) the use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from whom he had to be distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.”

AUTHOR RESPONSE: (1) That would be those translators’ personal opinion about the correct pronunciation, as many other world renowned Hebrew scholars would argue otherwise, such as Dr. Gleason L. Archer. Even if that were not so, we know that Jesus does not accurately represent the original form of his name. Who is the brave soul who would suggest that we remove the name of God’s Son, Jesus, for the title of “Christ”? (2) This just is not the case; there are millions of other gods (albeit false) that are worshiped. Even the Apostle Paul said,

1 Corinthians 8:5 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

5 For even if after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many gods and many lords

Of course, these other gods are false, and there is only one true God, Jehovah God. The use of God’s personal name sets him off from these others.

English Standard Version of 2001: Scholars call this the “Tetragrammaton,” a Greek term referring to the four Hebrew letters YHWH. The exact pronunciation of YHWH is uncertain because the Jewish people considered the personal name of God to be so holy that it should never be spoken aloud [Jewish tradition]. Instead of reading the word YHWH, they would normally read the Hebrew word ’adonay (“Lord”), and the ancient translations into Greek, Syriac, and Aramaic also followed this practice. When the vowels of the word ’adonay are placed with the consonants of YHWH, this results in the familiar word Jehovah that was used in some earlier English Bible translations. As is common among English translations today, the ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) with the word Lord (printed in small capitals).

AUTHOR RESPONSE: The irony is that the ESV removes the personal name of the only one true God, while they retain the personal names of the false gods. If God gave us his personal name and had it inspired to be penned 6,828 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, who has the authority to remove that personal name and replace it with an impersonal title? What text gives anyone that authority?

THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

More Is at Stake that the Correct Pronunciation

Joel 2:32 American Standard Version (ASV)

32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah has said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah does call.

This verse is quoted two times in the New Testament, by two apostles, Peter and Paul:

Acts 2:21 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

21 And it will be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’[a]

[a]Footnotes: Acts 2:21 A quotation from Joel 2:28–32

Romans 10:13 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

13 For “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”[a]

[a]Footnotes: Romans 10:13 A quotation from Joel 2:32

More is Needed than Just Being Aware of the Divine Name

Jehovah chose his own name, one rich in meaning. “Jehovah” literally means “He Causes to Become.” The divine name certainly was not new. The divine name was known and used clear back in the beginning with Adam and Eve. The Patriarchs also knew and used the divine name, as well as received promises from Jehovah. However, keeping in mind the meaning of God’s name, “He Causes to Become,” the patriarchs did not experientially know Jehovah as the one that would cause the promises to be fulfilled. (Genesis 12:1, 2; 15:7, 13-16; 26:24; 28:10-15.) They knew the promises, but Moses was about to experience the results. No matter what was to get in the way of Moses and the Israelites, no matter the difficulties they faced, Jehovah was going to become whatever they needed, to deliver them from slavery and into the Promised Land.

Exodus 34:5-6 American Standard Version (ASV)

5 And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. 6 And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.

Deuteronomy 32:3-5 American Standard Version (ASV)

3 For I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice: A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he. 5 They have dealt corruptly with him, they are not his children, it is their blemish; they are a perverse and crooked generation.

Leviticus 22:32 American Standard Version (ASV)

32 And ye shall not profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am Jehovah who sanctified you,

Psalm 8:1 American Standard Version (ASV)

1 O Jehovah, our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all the earth, Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens!

Psalm 148:13 American Standard Version (ASV)

13 Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For his name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heavens.

Exodus 3:15 American Standard Version (ASV)

15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Malachi 1:11 American Standard Version (ASV)

11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the Gentiles, says Jehovah of armies.

Exodus 9:16 American Standard Version (ASV)

16 but in very deed for this cause have I made you to stand, to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Ezekiel 36:23 American Standard Version (ASV)

23 And I will sanctify my great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, says the Lord Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

And may we be determined to stand firm for what was revealed to us in Scripture, not cowering to fainted hearted scholarship, who would instead please man than the Creator of heaven and earth. Let us say, as the prophet Micah boldly said many centuries ago,

Micah 4:5 American Standard Version (ASV)

For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God
forever and ever.

The greatest indignity of modern translators is their rendering of the Father’s personal name as a title “LORD” or “GOD,” removing or the concealing of his special personal name. Before moving on, let us say that Yahweh is not an appropriate rendering of the Father’s personal name. First, the Father’s personal name, the Tetragrammaton (יהוה), has three syllables (Je·ho·vah), not two syllables (Yah·weh). Second, many Hebrew kings and others used by God personally in Bible times used part of the Father’s personal name in their name, like Jehoash, Jehoram, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Jehoram, Jehohanan, Jehonadab, Jehoahaz, and even the wife of High Priest Jehoiada; daughter of King Jehoram of Judah, Jehosheba,  among many more. We notice that the beginning of the Father’s personal name is used in every one of these cases. Does anyone find it a bit troubling that the Bibles (JB, LEB, HCSB), which choose to use the so-called scholarly “Yahweh” rendering still spell the above names with Jeho? Why do these same translations not spell Jehoash “Yahash”? We will look at how the Holman Christian Standard Bible (and the HCSB revision, the 2017 Christian Standard Bible) and the Lexham English Bible render the Father’s personal name and how they render Jehosheba, Jehoram, and Jehoash.

The Father’s Personal Name

NOTE: The 2017 Christian Standard Bible is simply an updated version of the 2009 Holman Christian Standard Bible. Note that in the updated HCSB, CSB has removed God’s personal name.

Isaiah 42:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

I am Yahweh, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another
or My praise to idols.

Isaiah 42:8 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

am Yahweh; that is my name, and I do not give my glory to another, nor my praise to the idols.

Isaiah 42:8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

I am the LORD. That is my name,
and I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.

israel against all odds ISRAEL AGAINST ALL ODDS - Vol. II

The Father’s Personal Name Used In Bible Person’s Names, Especially Kings

2 Kings 11:2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Jehosheba, who was King Jehoram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister, secretly rescued Joash son of Ahaziah from among the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. So he was hidden from Athaliah and was not killed.

2 Kings 11:2 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Jehosheba, who was King Jehoram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister, secretly rescued Joash [Jehoash] son of Ahaziah from the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. So he was hidden from Athaliah and was not killed.

2 Kings 11:2 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

But Jehosheba the daughter of King Joram [Jehoram] and sister of Ahaziah took Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, and she stole him from among the sons of the king who were being put to death, putting him and his nurse in the inner bedroom. So they hid him from the presence of Athaliah, and he was not killed.

Remember, it was the Jewish Pharisees who rejected Jesus and were told by him: “So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.” (Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13) One of their traditions was not to pronounce the personal name of the Father. Thus, is it not a bit foolish for modern translators to follow in the footsteps of the very men who were condemned and rejected by Jesus? Substituting the personal name of the Father for a title truly weakens the Word of God.

Those who argue that we should not use the personal name of God because we do not know precisely how it was pronounced do not make that same argument for Jesus (Gr. Iēsous) name. First, we actually do know how God’s personal name was pronounced. However, setting that aside, for now, we will consider how these same ones will freely use the name, Jesus. Second, the pronunciation of the Son of God’s name is nothing like it is pronounced today. The name of the Son was likely pronounced Yeshua. Jesus (Ἰησοῦς), in the Roman alphabet (Iēsous) from the Hebrew (יֵשׁוּעַ), the Roman alphabet (Yeshua). And the title “Christ” was Mashiach. Greek was the dominant language of the Eastern part, and Latin was the official language of the Western Part of the Roman Empire until 330 C.E. Christians in the Eastern part likely called the Son of God Iesous Christos, while those in the Western region, Iesus Christus.

Let us look at the translations that use the Father’s personal name in their translation, namely, the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) (and the HCSB revision, the 2017 Christian Standard Bible) and the Lexham English Bible (LEB)

Zechariah 3:3 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.

Ezra 3:2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers the priests along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his brothers began to build the altar of Israel’s God in order to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God.

Zechariah 3:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the Angel.

Zechariah 3:3 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

And Joshua was clothed in filthy garments and was standing before the angel.

Ezra 3:2 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers the priests along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his brothers began to build the altar of Israel’s God in order to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God.

Ezra 3:2 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

And Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his brothers the priests stood up, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers built the altar of the God of Israel, in order to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God.

Clearly, Jehovah, the personal name of the Father, is a unique and special name, applying to only one person, the Almighty Father of the Hebrew Old Testament. Only one person would want the removal of the personal name the Father, namely, Satan. Why? Most certainly, almost every Christian who has read Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 has thought that the reference to “the Lord,” was to Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father; when, in fact, it is a reference to the Father.

Joel 2:32 American Standard Version (ASV)

32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah has said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah does call.

This verse is quoted two times in the New Testament, by two apostles, Peter and Paul:

Acts 2:21 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

21 And it will be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’[a]

[a]Footnotes: Acts 2:21 A quotation from Joel 2:28–32

Romans 10:13 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

13 For “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”[a]

[a]Footnotes: Romans 10:13 A quotation from Joel 2:32

Dr. John McRay, in his book Archaeology and the New Testament, writes,

This whole issue becomes even more intriguing when we consider the possibility that the New Testament autographs, written almost entirely by Jewish Christians (the possible exception being Luke-Acts), may have preserved the Jewish custom and retained the divine name in Aramaic script in quotations from the Old Testament. Thus they may have followed the lead of some Jewish authors who used one script for the divine name when they quoted Scripture and another when they themselves referred to God. Similarly, it was customary at Qumran to use the Tetragram freely when one was either copying or introducing Scripture quotations into a commentary, but to use El (“God”) in original material written for a commentary.[3]

Having references to Yahweh clearly indicated would be of enormous help, for any verses that refer to “the Lord” are unclear as to whether Christ or God (Yahweh) is meant. For example, Peter’s quotation (in Acts 2:34) of David, “The Lord said to my Lord,” is unclear until the Hebrew original (Ps. 110:1) is read: “Yahweh says to my Adonai.” Such verses that quote the Old Testament would be clearer if YHWH (the Tetragram) were used in the New Testament.

Another case in point is Romans 10:16, which quotes Isaiah 53:1, “Lord, who has believed our report?” “Lord” would seem to refer to Christ, for “the word of Christ” is a reading which appears in the most recent New Testament texts of verse 17, even though many of the ancient witnesses have “the word of God.”[4] Actually, the word Lord does not appear in the Hebrew text of Isaiah 53:1, although it does appear in the Greek text, which Paul quotes, as κυριε. Since this word became a surrogate in Christian copies of the Septuagint for YHWH, it is natural to assume that κυριε in the Septuagint of Isaiah 53:1 refers to YHWH. It undoubtedly slipped into the Septuagint from an early Hebrew lemma (in commentaries, the setting forth of a text prior to its discussion) which led to the inference that the YHWH mentioned in the second part of Isaiah 53:1 is the person being addressed in the first part of that verse. Since this verse is Scripture rather than commentary, Jewish scribal practice would have dictated the use of “Yahweh” rather than “Adonai.” The verse would then have read, “Yahweh, who has believed our report?”[5] This is the way Paul would have understood the Septuagint. Contrary to current textual criticism, then, the reading in Romans 10:17 should probably be “the word of God” rather than “the word of Christ.” Rudolf Bultmann’s argument that “the unmodified expression ‘the Lord’ is unthinkable (nicht denkbar)” in Jewish usage (and thus unthinkable in Isa. 53:1a)[6] is now rebutted by several Palestinian Aramaic texts which have the word Mare or Marya (“Lord”) as a title for God. Thus, pre-Christian Jews did refer to God in an absolute sense as “the Lord.”[7]

Again, how does the Father feel about his own personal name?

Isaiah 42:8 American Standard Version (ASV)

8 I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.

Returning to Elijah, we ask did the prayers of the Baal prophets go to the same place as Elijah. Baal worship corrupted people with ritual prostitution and even offering up human life in their sacrifices. In contrast, the worship of the Father elevated the Israelite people to superior moral and ethical values, never even considering such degrading practices. Just think, if we were in a bad way and were writing a letter to one of our closest and dearest friends, would we use their personal name (Dear Janice), or would we use an impersonal title (Dear Miss). Surely not! Who is the Father of humankind? Isaiah the prophet answers, but who has the accurate rendering?

1901 ASV | ‎Isa 63:16

For thou art our Father, though Abraham knoweth us not, and Israel doth not acknowledge us: thou, O Jehovah, art our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name.

2016 UASV | ‎Isa 63:16

For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not recognize us; you, O Jehovah, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.

2013 LEB | ‎Isa 63:16

For you are our father, although Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, Yahweh are our father, Our Redeemer from of old is your name.

2009 HCSB | ‎Isa 63:16

Yet You are our Father, even though Abraham does not know us and Israel doesn’t recognize us. You, Yahweh, are our Father; from ancient times, Your name is our Redeemer.

2001 ESV | ‎Isa 63:16 For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. 1995 NASB | ‎Isa 63:16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

1901 ASV: The change first recommended in the Appendix – that which substitutes “Jehovah” for “LORD” and “GOD” – is one which will be unwelcome to many, because of the frequency and familiarity of the terms displaced. But the American Revisers, after a careful consideration were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament, as it fortunately does not in the numerous versions made by modern missionaries. This Memorial Name, explained in Ex. iii. 14, 15, and emphasized as such over and over in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the personal God, as the covenant God, the God of revelation, the Deliverer, the Friend of his people; — not merely the abstractly “Eternal One” of many French translations, but the ever living Helper of those who are in trouble. This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim.

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[1] According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there are some “10,000 distinct religions worldwide.”

[2] James Newell, “Ball,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 152.

[3] Howard (“Tetragram and the New Testament,” 66-67) presents two illustrations: 1 QpHab 10:6-7 (equals Hab. 2:13) and 1 QpHab 11: 10 (equals Hab. 2:16).

[4] See the discussion in Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies, 1971), 525.

[5] Other examples are discussed by Howard, “Tetragram and the New Testament,” 76-83

[6] Rudolph Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament, 2 vols. (London: SCM, 1952), 1.51 equals Theologie des Neuen Testaments (Tübingen: Mohr, 1948), 52.

[7] Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “The Aramaic Language and the Study of the New Testament,” JBL 99 (1980): 13.

McRay, John (2008-02-01). Archaeology and the New Testament (Kindle Locations 5515-5582). Baker Academic. Kindle Edition.

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