God’s Personal Name is Jehovah
The name of Almighty God is Jehovah. This is an English translation taken from four consonants with three vowels added. The Bible reveals that Jehovah revealed to mankind his personal name. The act of sharing a personal name instead of a title is significant. Jehovah is the creator, the Almighty God, the sovereign Lord. He is the most powerful and eternal. Therefore many would settle for using a title with their subjects. Sovereign Lord, and so forth. Yet Jehovah God chose to share his personal name and did so according to the Bible book of Genesis when first speaking with the human family. Thus, God was not known by a simple title the way, for example, a son would refer to father or mother, but was known by a personal name. This signifies a much closer relationship being desired by God.
The pronunciation of the divine name is lost. The reason for this is that the ancient Hebrew text used consonants only and not vowels. Fewer words were in use and people recognized words from the consonants. Today we do something similar at times. For example, when thinking of the names of places or streets. We have no difficulty in recognizing the letters DR and saying the word doctor. We have no difficulty in recognizing the letters ST and automatically assuming that what is being referred to is Street. We fill in the spaces. Ancient readers could do the same thing with ancient Hebrew depending on context.
To some degree, the Jews were very cautious when it came to the use of God’s name. Enshrined in the Mosaic law was the command not to take or use God’s name in a vain way. For example, it was not to be invoked in a curse or to be used in a profanity.
Out of a concern for the sanctity of God’s name, a superstition arose about using that name. Various articles have been written over the years that have suggested that the divine name and its pronunciation had disappeared many years before Christ. These claims have been proven false. We know from writings that the divine name was in use at the time that Jesus walked the earth. Somewhat after Jesus time with the translation of various documents into other languages, it was a decision taken by the churches in the third and fourth century that resulted in the divine name being essentially removed from the Scripture in all but a very few instances. The book of Psalm 83 verse 18 survived because the rendering would make nonsense without the divine name. It states there that “you whose name is Jehovah are the most time over the earth.” The removal of name in the verse simply would make a nonsense of the thoughts being conveyed here.
Some have argued that in the absence of the correct pronunciation followed by the development of the word in English, the name Jehovah should not be used. They say this because it is the wrong pronunciation. While there is some merit in this point it should also be borne in mind that we do not use the accurate pronunciation of many names found in the Hebrew Scriptures or the Greek Scriptures for that matter. When names are used in different languages they are often pronounced in different ways. For example, we use the word or name Jesus. We have no difficulty with that pronunciation. Yet if we were to insist on accurate pronunciation of the name Jesus, we would use a very different word, Yehoshua. Yehoshua is very different from Jesus. It is a more accurate rendering of the name. Yet we have no problem in using that name despite the fact that it is also a very holy and sacred name.
The fact that Jehovah has shared his name with us indicates that Jehovah wants a close personal relationship with man. The name Jehovah is a reasonably accurate translation of the name. For example, it is evident from Hebrew documents that it would have had three syllables. That being the case, the argument that some scholars have advanced is that the name should be pronounced, Yahweh, having only two syllables. While it may be accurate in terms of the first letter it is also an inaccurate rendering of the name. It is possible that it is more accurate to pronounce the divine name with a Y instead of the J in Jehovah. [Yehovah] But that in itself doesn’t necessarily argue against the use of the name.
Frankly, the fact that names are pronounced differently in different languages does not take away from the result of using the divine name. When a person knows and uses the divine name they are signifying that they agree with Jehovah’s instruction to be more personal with God. We should use that name. Jehovah wants a close personal relationship with his servants, and, when we in turn begin using the divine name we indicate that we too want a close personal relationship with him. Using someone’s name indicates a closer relationship with that person than simply using a title. Indeed, it has been argued cogently that the use of a person’s name, in effect learning and using that name, shows respect and also a personal interest in the person. Jehovah is the creator and life giver and father. He wants us to use his name. That is the same personal name that God uses when speaking to us. What more respectful thing could we do in obedience to his own command than to use that name when speaking to him in prayer. Jesus himself said about Jehovah in prayer. “I have made your name known to them.” Jesus clearly used God’s name and explained and demonstrated the character of God in his dealings so that people got to know more about the personality of God as they got to know the personality of Jesus. Jesus himself said, “he who has seen me has seen the father.” Indicating that so close is his personality to the personality of God that to get to know Jesus would be in many ways, the same as getting to know the nature of God.