Should We Use the Name ‘Yah’?

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Hi C____,

Thank you for your question about the name ‘Yah’.

I read the link you sent and I was, as usual, struck by the dearth of scriptures to make the writer’s point that ‘Yah’ is of pagan origin.

What this man does not realize is that the Hebrew of Moses day, when he first wrote the first five books of the Bible where the name Yahweh is used so often and is translated as LORD in all caps in the KJV, had no vowels at all, as this entry from Wikepedia correctly states:

“Biblical Hebrew has been written with a number of different writing systems. The Hebrews adopted the Phoenician script around the 12th century BCE, which developed into the Paleo-Hebrew script. This was retained by the Samaritans, who use the descendent Samaritan script to this day. However the Aramaic script gradually displaced the Paleo-Hebrew script for the Jews, and it became the source for the modern Hebrew alphabetAll of these scripts were lacking letters to represent all of the sounds of Biblical Hebrew, though these sounds are reflected in Greek and Latin transcriptions/translations of the time. These scripts originally only indicated consonants, but certain letters, known as matres lectionis, became increasingly used to mark vowelsIn the Middle Ages various systems of diacritics were developed to mark the vowels in Hebrew manuscripts; of these, only the Tiberian system is still in wide use.”

So the fact of the matter is that we do not know what vowels to put where in YHWH. It could be Yeh, Yah, or Woh. There were no vowels at the time, and besides that, how the name of God is pronounced phonetically is totally irrelevant to our salvation. When Paul spoke of ‘blaspheming the name of God’, it had nothing at all to do with phonetics and everything to do with rebellion against obeying the commandments of God:

Rom 2:21  Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Rom 2:22  Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Rom 2:23  Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Rom 2:24  For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

Here is how we refrain from blaspheming the name of God, and again, it has nothing to do with phonetics and guessing where to place which non-existent vowels:

1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

It is childish and spiritually immature to be concerned with how to properly pronounce the tetragramaton, YHWH. It has no spiritual benefit, and there is no spiritual message conveyed in whether the proper vowels are in the proper place. What is spiritually significant, and what does have great spiritual benefits, is to “love God and keep His commandments”. When we do that, we will never be guilty of profaning or blaspheming the name of God.

I hope this is of some help to you.

YbitC,

Mike

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