The New Testament usage of the words κύριος (2962, usually Lord in the King James Authorized Version [A.V.]) and θεός (2316, always God or god in the A.V.) are better understood once one realizes that the primary model for New Testament Greek usage was the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Old Testament. The quotes from the Old Testament found in the New Testament (and by “quotes” I mean those of substance and not single-line references or mere allusions) are to a great extent so nearly identical to the Greek of the LXX that, for the most part, the LXX had to be the primary volume employed by the apostles as their source for their own basic Old Testament understanding, and as their primary reference.
In the LXX, and I speak in general terms since I have not studied the thousands of occurrences individually and so therefore I am not aware of exceptions, θεός is taken from the Hebrew word el or its plural elohim (Strong’s Hebrew #s 410 and 430), and all of these become God, or sometimes god or gods, in English translations of the LXX and the Hebrew. κύριος is taken from the Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew word for Yahweh (Strong’s # 3068), and so becomes Lord in English as the A.V. translators also wrote Lord when encountering the Hebrew word for Yahweh.
In the New Testament θεός usually - where it is not used of idols - refers to the God, Yahweh, the Father, as the invisible Spiritual entity. Yet often κύριος is also, and both are often translated Yahweh here. Where the two appear together, in the manner of the LXX, κύριος is Yahweh and θεός God. This is found here, for examples, at Luke 1:16, 32, and 68; and 4:8 and 12; Acts 2:39 and 3:22, and Revelation 1:8.
Where θεός is found with a possessive noun or pronoun it is God here in many places. It is also God in phrases such as “the God of Israel” or “Yahweh your God”. Wherever θεός is not used of Yahweh but of some idol or other so-called “god”, it is god(s). Examples are found at Acts 7:40 and 43; 12:22; 14:11; 19:26; and 28:6, I Corinthians 8:5; Galatians 4:9; and John 10:34 and 35. It is the “Unknown God” of Acts 17:23, and in the feminine gender it is goddess at Acts 19:37. Everywhere else θεός is Yahweh. That Yahweh, and not Jehovah, is the proper form of the Hebrew appellation for the one true God of Israel is absolutely certain, and discussed at length in the article included here below, “Which Is It, ‘Lord’ or ‘Yahweh’?”
Is it “good Greek” to render θεός as Yahweh in the New Testament? Not if one is a technical purist, and it may be that this is perhaps the only point in which this translation fails to at least pursue (not to say achieve) such technical accuracy. It can be argued, however, that it is good religion, and regarding this one point the element of religion is the deciding factor for determining how to treat a Greek word in such a manner here.
In New Testament usage of these terms, in the early portions of the Gospels especially, and often in the other New Testament writings, as a noun κύριος stands for Yahweh, after the manner of the LXX, and is translated as such in these cases. Later on κύριος is Yahweh only where it appears in Old Testament quotes, and often it is accompanied by θεός. In the book of Acts, for example, κύριος is Yahweh at 3:20; where the Old Testament is discussed at 7:31 and 33; and in quotes from the Old Testament found at Acts 2:20, 21, 25, and 34 (first occurrence); at 3:22 where it is accompanied by θεός; 4:26; 7:49; and 15:17 (twice). Practically everywhere else, κύριος does not refer to Yahweh but to (Jesus) Yahshua Christ, although frequently it is also used to refer to earthly rulers and is usually translated here “lord” or “master”.
Wherever κύριος by itself has been determined by this translator to be a title referring to Yahshua Christ, rather than to Yahweh the Spirit, it is translated “Prince”. This may be considered to be subjective in many instances, such as at Luke 5:17 where “Prince” may very well have been written “Yahweh” instead. Yet if one realizes that both Yahweh and Yahshua Christ are one and the same, that Yahshua is the physical manifestation of the Creator and God of Israel, the perceived subjectivity becomes practically irrelevant (note for example John 10:30 and Col. 2:9). κύριος, where it is used as a title for Yahshua (see the other exceptions explained below) is always “Prince”, and is “Prince” for several reasons. First, “Lord” as used, and so badly misused, by mainstream religion and profane people, has become a reproach – often even a profanity itself – a repugnant situation and therefore a term I have tried to avoid. Secondly, of the other possible translations (see both Thayer and L & S at κύριος), Master, Sovereign, or Chief, many seem to prefer Sovereign, yet that word is clumsy and difficult for many tongues (at least to this writer’s, anyway). To this writer, Prince, which also describes a future (at Yahshua Christ’s second advent) King, seems most proper. For it is not only a fair rendering of κύριος (Thayer, κύριος, A., p. 365 col. B), but also a title of respect possibly never employed in profanity (again the translator recognizes that this is perhaps a religious argument). By itself the term looks forward to the fulfillment of the New Covenant promise at the end of the age, i.e. Rev. 19:16. “Prince” appears in the English Old Testament in prophecies of Christ at Isa. 9:7 and Dan. 9:25 and 26.
Is it “good Greek” to render κύριος as Yahweh in the New Testament? It certainly is. For if the King James and most other modern translators can render the Hebrew for Yahweh into Lord, and if the Septuagint translators can render the Hebrew Yahweh into κύριος, then it is only fair that κύριος can be rendered Yahweh in the reverse.
One other use of κύριος is altogether ignored by the A.V. translators, and many since who have followed them: that the word is first but a simple adjective in Greek, and only a title when used as a Substantive. Liddell & Scott have at κύριος: “I. of persons, having power or authority over, lord, or master of...having authority...authoritative, decisive, dominant... authorised, ratified, valid...of times, etc., fixed, ordained, appointed...legitimate, regular, proper...of words, authorised, vernacular...” and then “B. as Substantive...a lord, master...”. Paul used κύριος in several places in its primary sense as an adjective, where it is (or should be) “with authority” or “by authority” at Rom. 14:6 (thrice); I Cor. 11:11; II Cor. 11:17 (with κατά); Eph. 4:17 and 6:1; I Thess. 5:12; Phm. 20; “of authority” at Eph. 6:4; and with παρά it is “as appropriate” at Eph. 6:8 and II Tim. 1:18. In Luke I have found this usage twice, where with the Article in the Dative case τῷ κυρίῳ is rendered “with the authority” at Acts 14:23, and “with authority” at Acts 25:26. There the A.V. renders the phrase “unto my lord” - absurdly impossible not only because “my” doesn’t exist here in the text in any manuscript, but also because Phestos never planned to write Agrippa of the matter. Rather, Phestos had to write Caesar of the matter, whom Paul had appealed to and to whom he was going to be sent.
Like κύριος, χριστός (5547) is also a Greek adjective and simply means “anointed”, yet in the A.V. the word was never treated in such manner, always being transliterated as Christ, inferring Yahshua Christ, even when the inference did not fit the context, such as can plainly be seen at Heb. 11:26 which shall be discussed below. χριστός is derived from the Greek verb χρίω (5548), “to rub or anoint...” (L & S), and we can see in the Old Testament that kings and others, such as certain priests and prophets, were anointed in such a manner as the word describes, i.e. I Sam. 10:1 and 16:1 and 13; I Kin. 19:15-16; and II Kin. 9:1 ff. Examples of χριστός translated “anointed”, used as an adjective, are at Luke 2:11 and 26 (both times modifying κύριος, “Prince”), at Luke 23:2 (modifying “King”) and 23:35 (modifying “Son”). As a Substantive (a noun) it is “Anointed One” at Luke 9:20, and “Anointed” at Acts 4:26 which shall also be discussed below.
The verb χρίω, to anoint, is found at Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27 and 10:38, and at Heb. 1:9, all pertaining to Christ. Elsewhere in the New Testament we see this verb used in the same manner not only of Christ, but also of the children of Israel at II Cor. 1:21. Likewise the noun χρῖσμα (5545) was used by John of the children of Israel, which the A.V. translated “unction” at I John 2:20, and twice as an “anointing” at 2:27. Use of these words in this manner, pertaining to the children of Israel, are found in the LXX, as well as their Hebrew counterparts in the Masoretic Text (MT) of the Old Testament, at I Sam. 2:10 and 35; I Chr. 16:22; Psa. 2:2; 28:8; 84:9; 89:38; 105:15; and 132:17. The children of Israel with Yahshua Christ as their Head are the Anointed as a group, explained by Paul at I Cor. 11:3 and 12:12-31; Eph. 4:15-16; and alluded to by him elsewhere. That the word χριστός is used by Paul to designate this group is quite clear where it is used in contexts such as Rom. 9:3-5; I Cor. 1:13; 4:15, and 12:12; II Cor. 1:21; Gal. 3:16; Eph. 3:17; 4:12 and 13; Phil. 1:21; Col. 1:24 and 27; and 2:2; II Thess. 3:5; and certainly I Tim. 5:11 and Heb. 11:26. Yet these words are apparently never used in such a manner in the other New Testament writings. Although there is some room at Acts 8:5 to make such an interpretation, in the context of the gospel alone I would hesitate to do so. In Psa. 2:2 it is clearly used in such a manner, for which note the context given by v. 3, and the plural pronouns. Yet where Psa. 2:2 is quoted at Acts 4:26, the speakers seem to be referring to Yahshua Christ alone. Yet it is also likely that they are referring to themselves and their own immediate experience (cf. Acts 4:1-21, and 4:29-30) as well as to Christ (cf. Acts 4:27-28), and so in this one place χριστός is used of the Anointed as a group, consistent with its use in Psa. 2:2 but on a smaller scale, i.e. not all of the children of Israel, but of Yahshua and His followers at that time.
Ἰησοῦς (2424), always Jesus in the A.V. and other translations, is “Yahshua” everywhere here except for two occasions. The reasons for this are fully explained below, in the article “Yahshua To Jesus: Evolution of a Name”. One exception is at Luke 3:29 where it is simply transliterated “Iasous”, to distinguish Yahshua Christ from one of His ancestors who had the same given name. The other is at Acts 7:45 where it is “Joshua”, the anglicized version of the Hebrew form of Yahshua, this same name also having belonged to the son of Nun of the Old Testament book of Joshua.
The religious argument for using (or restoring) the Hebrew name Yahweh to the text of the New Testament I shall give briefly. As early as the third century BC, apparently, the religious authorities at Jerusalem had forbidden the use of the name Yahweh by the people. Various reasons concerning superstition are postulated for this, however it is also a matter of Biblical prophecy that the name of Yahweh would be removed from the mouths of the people. Josephus states that it was expressly forbidden for anyone to utter the name (Antiquities 2.12.4), which he would only say was spelled with four [Greek] vowels (Wars 5.5.7). Therefore it was impossible for the apostles to use the name without being persecuted by the temple authorities. They had been told by Yahshua, that the scribes and Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses, and therefore to do whatever they should say, but not to do the things which they did – sound advice to avoid unproductive and vain conflict with those of greater power and de facto authority – and so the apostles used the same common terms found in the Greek texts of the time. There are, however, significant fragments of Greek scripture found among the Dead Sea Scrolls where the Tetragrammaton, in palaeo-Hebrew characters, stands for Yahweh in those places where the standard Greek texts have κύριος. This writer believes that the scribes and Pharisees having no real authority since 70 AD, when the temple was destroyed, they no longer sit on the seat of Moses, and it is long past time to restore the name of the God of Israel to Scripture. Many scriptures may be pointed to by which one may substantiate such an assertion.
The essays which follow defend the legitimacy of the forms of the names Yahweh and Yahshua through linguistic and historical perspectives.
Which is it,
“Lord” or “Yahweh”?
by Clifton A. Emahiser
Many today are struggling with this very question. What other subject could be of more importance than the very name of our Creator? Maybe the following article will solve some of your uncertainties. If one wishes to find information on the term “Yahweh” it is somewhat hard to find. One reason is because in most encyclopedias it is listed under “Jehovah.” Also, in later up-to-date encyclopedias the information is rather suppressed. The following is a rather thorough, but not perfect, article on this subject found in the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica printed in 1910. We will not use the entire article as toward the end they get mired in the errant criticisms of the 1800’s humanists. Otherwise this article brings to light many historical facts on the topic. But like all testimony, it must be scrutinized! (Footnotes have been changed to paragraph notes at the end of each paragraph by the use of superscript numerals inside of brackets [ ] ):
JEHOVAH (Yahweh1), in the Bible, the God of Israel. “Jehovah” is a modern mispronunciation of the Hebrew name, resulting from combining the consonants of that name, Jhvh, with the vowels of the word adonay, “Lord,” which the Jews substituted for the proper name in reading the scriptures. In such cases of substitution the vowels of the word which is to be read are written in the Hebrew text with the consonants of the word which is not to be read. The consonants of the word to be substituted are ordinarily written in the margin; but inasmuch as Adonay was regularly read instead of the ineffable name Jhvh, it was deemed unnecessary to note the fact at every occurrence. When Christian scholars began to study the Old Testament in Hebrew, if they were ignorant of this general rule or regarded the substitution as a piece of Jewish superstition, reading what actually stood in the text, they would inevitably pronounce the name Jehovah. It is an unprofitable inquiry who first made this blunder; probably many fell into it independently. The statement still commonly repeated that it originated with Petrus Galatinus (1518) is erroneous; Jehova occurs in manuscripts at least as early as the 14th century. [1This form, Yahweh, as the correct one, is generally used in the separate articles throughout this work.]
The form Jehovah was used in the 16th century by many authors, both Catholic and Protestant, and in the 17th was zealously defended by Fuller, Gataker, Leusden and others, against the criticisms of such scholars as Drusius, Cappellus and the elder Buxtorf. It appeared in the English Bible in Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch (1530), and is found in all English Protestant versions of the 16th century except that of Coverdale (1535). In the Authorized Version of 1611 it occurs in Exod. vi. 3; Ps. lxxxiii. 18; Isa. xii. 2; xxvi. 4, beside the compound names Jehovah-jireh, Jehovah-nissi, Jehovah-shalom; elsewhere, in accordance with the usage of the ancient versions, Jhvh is represented by LORD (distinguished by capitals from the title “Lord,” Heb. adonay). In the Revised Version of 1885 Jehovah is retained in the places in which it stood in the A.V., and is introduced also in Exod. vi. 2, 6, 7, 8; Ps. lxviii. 20; Isa. xlix, 14; Jer. xvi. 21; Hab. iii: 19. The American committee which cooperated in the revision desired to employ the name Jehovah wherever Jhvh occurs in the original, and editions embodying their preferences are printed accordingly.
Several centuries before the Christian era the name Jhvh had ceased to be commonly used by the Jews. Some of the later writers in the Old Testament employ the appellative Elohim, God, prevailingly or exclusively; a collection of Psalms (Ps. xlii. - lxxxiii.) was revised by an editor who changed the Jhvh of the authors into Elohim (see e.g. xlv. 7; xlviii 10; l. 7; li. 14); observe also the frequency of “the Most High,” “the God of Heaven,” “King of Heaven,” in Daniel, and of “Heaven” in First Maccabees. The oldest Greek versions (Septuagint), from the third century B.C., consistently use Κύριος, “Lord,” where the Hebrew has Jhvh, corresponding to the substitution of Adonay for Jhvh in reading the original; in books written in Greek in this period (e.g. Wisdom, 2 and 3 Maccabees), as in the New Testament, Κύριος takes the place of the name of God. Josephus, who as a priest knew the pronunciation of the name, declares that religion forbids him to divulge it; Philo calls it ineffable, and says that it is lawful for those only whose ears and tongues are purified by wisdom to hear and utter it in a holy place (that is, for priests in the Temple); and in another passage, commenting on Lev. xxiv. 15 seq.: “If any one, I do not say should blaspheme against the Lord of men and gods, but should even dare to utter his name unseasonably, let him expect the penalty of death.”1 [1See Josephus, Ant. ii. 12, 4; Philo, Vita Mosis, iii. 11 (ii. §114, ed. Cohn and Wendland); ib. iii. 27 (ii. §206). The Palestinian authorities more correctly interpreted Lev. xxiv. 15 seq., not of the mere utterance of the name, but of the use of the name of God in blaspheming God.]
Various motives may have concurred to bring about the suppression of the name. An instinctive feeling that a proper name for God implicitly recognizes the existence of other gods may have had some influence; reverence and the fear lest the holy name should be profaned among the heathen were potent reasons; but probably the most cogent motive was the desire to prevent the abuse of the name in magic. If so, the secrecy had the opposite effect; the name of the god of the Jews was one of the great names in magic, heathen as well as Jewish, and miraculous efficacy was attributed to the mere utterance of it.
In the liturgy of the Temple the name was pronounced in the priestly benediction (Num. vi. 27) after the regular daily sacrifice (in the synagogues a substitute – probably Adonay – was employed);1 on the Day of Atonement the High Priest uttered the name ten times in his prayers and benediction. In the last generations before the fall of Jerusalem, however, it was pronounced in a low tone so that the sounds were lost in the chant of the priests.2 [1... Siphrê, Num. §§ 39, 43; M. Sotah, iii. 7; Sotah, 38a. The tradition that the utterance of the name in the daily benedictions ceased with the death of Simeon the Just, two centuries or more before the Christian era, perhaps arose from a misunderstanding of Menahoth, 109b; in any case it cannot stand against the testimony of older and more authoritative texts. 2Yoma, 39b; Jer. Yoma, iii. 7; Kiddushin, 71a.]
After the destruction of the Temple (A.D. 70) the liturgical use of the name ceased, but the tradition was perpetuated in the schools of the rabbis.1 It was certainly known in Babylonia in the latter part of the 4th century,2 and not improbably much later. Nor was the knowledge confined to these pious circles; the name continued to be employed by healers, exorcists and magicians, and has been preserved in many places in magical papyri. The vehemence with which the utterance of the name is denounced in the Mishna – “He who pronounces the Name with its own letters has no part in the world to come!3 suggests that this misuse of the name was not uncommon among Jews. [1R. Johanan (second half of the 3rd century), Kiddushin, 71a. 2Kiddushin, l.c. = Pesahim, 50a. 3M. Sanhedrin, x. 1; Abba Saul, end of 2nd century.]
The Samaritans, who otherwise shared the scruples of the Jews about the utterance of the name, seem to have used it in judicial oaths to the scandal of the rabbis.1 [1Jer. Sanhedrin, x. 1; R. Mana, 4th century.]
The early Christian scholars, who inquired what was the true name of the God of the Old Testament, had therefore no great difficulty in getting the information they sought. Clement of Alexandria (d. c. 212) says that it was pronounced Ιαουε.1 Epiphanius (d. 404), who was born in Palestine and spent a considerable part of his life there, gives Ιαβε (one cod. Ιαυε).2 Theodoret (d. c. 457),3 born in Antioch, writes that the Samaritans pronounced the name Ιαβε (in another passage, Ιαβαι), the Jews Αἳα.4 The latter is probably not Jhvh but Ehyeh (Exod. iii. 14), which the Jews counted among the names of God; there is no reason whatever to imagine that the Samaritans pronounced the name Jhvh differently from the Jews. This direct testimony is supplemented by that of the magical texts, in which Ιαβε ζεβυθ (Jahveh Sebaoth), as well as Ιαβα, occurs frequently.5 In an Ethiopic list of magical names of Jesus, purporting to have been taught by him to his disciples, Yawe is found.6 Finally, there is evidence from more than one source that the modern Samaritan priests pronounce the name Yahweh or Yahwa.7 [1Strom. v. 6. Variants: Ια ουε, Ια ουαι; cod. L. Ιαου 2Panarion, Haer. 40, 5; cf. Lagarde, Psalter juxta Hebraeos, 154. 3Quaest. 15 in Exod.; Fab. haeret. compend. v. 3, sub fin. 4 Αἳα occurs also in the great magical papyrus of Paris, 1. 3020 (Wessely, Denkschrift. Wien. Akad., Phil. Hist. Kl. XXXVI. p. 120), and in the Leiden Papyrus, xvii. 31. 5See Deissmann, Bibelstudien, 13 sqq. 6See Driver, Studia Biblica, I. 20. 7See Montgomery, Journal of Biblical Literature, xxv. (1906), 49-51.]
There is no reason to impugn the soundness of this substantially consentient testimony to the pronunciation Yahweh or Jahveh, coming as it does through several independent channels. It is confirmed by grammatical considerations. The name Jhvh enters into the composition of many proper names of persons in the Old Testament, either as the initial element, in the form Jeho- or Jo- (as in Jehoram, Joram), or as the final element, in the form -jahu or -jah (as in Adonijahu, Adonijah). These various forms are perfectly regular if the divine name was Yahweh, and, taken altogether, they cannot be explained on any other hypothesis. Recent scholars, accordingly, with but few exceptions, are agreed that the ancient pronunciation of the name was Yahweh (the first h sounded at the end of the syllable).
Genebrardus seems to have been the first to suggest the pronunciation Iahue,1 but it was not until the 19th century that it became generally accepted. [1Chronographia, Paris, 1567 (ed. Paris, 1600, p. 79 seq.).]
Jahveh or Yahweh is apparently an example of a common type of Hebrew proper names which have the form of the 3rd pers. sing. of the verb. e.g. Jabneh (name of a city), Jabin, Jamlek, Jiptah (Jephthah), &c. Most of these really are verbs, the suppressed or implicit subject being ’el, “numen, god,” or the name of a god; cf. Jabneh and Jabne-el, Jiptah and Jiptah-el.
The ancient explanations of the name proceed from Exod. iii. 14, 15, where “Yahweh1 hath sent me” in v. 15 corresponds to “Ehyeh hath sent me” in v. 14, thus seeming to connect the name Yahweh with the Hebrew verb hayah, “to become, to be.” The Palestinian interpreters found in this the promise that God would be with his people (cf. v. 12) in future oppressions as he was in the present distress, or the assertion of his eternity, or eternal constancy; the Alexandrian translation Ἐγώ εἰμί ὁ ὤν ... Ὁ ὤν ἀπέσταλκέν με πρὸς ὑμᾶς understands it in the more metaphysical sense of God’s absolute being. Both interpretations, “He (who) is (always the same),” and “He (who) is (absolutely, the truly existent),” import into the name all that they profess to find in it; the one, the religious faith in God’s unchanging fidelity to his people, the other, a philosophical conception of absolute being which is foreign both to the meaning of the Hebrew verb and to the force of the tense employed. Modern scholars have sometimes found in the name the expression of the aseity2 of God; sometimes of his reality, in contrast to the imaginary gods of the heathen. Another explanation, which appears first in Jewish authors of the middle ages and has found wide acceptance in recent times, derives the name from the causative of the verb; He (who) causes things to be, gives them being; or calls events into existence, brings them to pass; with many individual modifications of interpretation – creator, lifegiver, fulfiller of promises. A serious objection to this theory in every form is that the verb hayah, “to be,” has no causative stem in Hebrew; to express the ideas which these scholars find in the name Yahweh the language employs altogether different verbs. [1This transcription will be used henceforth. 2A-se-itas, a scholastic Latin expression for the quality of existing by oneself.]
This assumption that Yahweh is derived from the verb “to be,” as seems to be implied in Exod. iii. 14 seq., is not, however, free from difficulty. “To be” in the Hebrew of the Old Testament is not hawah, as the derivation would require, but hayah; and we are thus driven to the further assumption that hawah belongs to an earlier stage of the language, or to some older speech of the forefathers of the Israelites. This hypothesis is not intrinsically improbable – and in Aramaic, a language closely related to Hebrew, “to be” actually is hawa – but it should be noted that in adopting it we admit that, using the name Hebrew in the historical sense, Yahweh is not a Hebrew name. And, inasmuch as nowhere in the Old Testament, outside of Exod. iii., is there the slightest indication that the Israelites connected the name of their God with the idea of “being” in any sense, it may fairly be questioned whether, if the author of Exod. iii. 14 seq., intended to give an etymological interpretation of the name Yahweh,1 his etymology is any better than many other paronomastic explanations of proper names in the Old Testament, or than, say, the connexion of the name Ἀπόλλων with ἀπολούων, ἀπολύων in Plato’s Cratylus, or the popular derivation from ἀπόλλυμι. [1The critical difficulties of these verses need not be discussed here. See W. R. Arnold, “The Divine Name in Exodus iii. 14,” Journal of Biblical Literature, XXIV. (1905), 107-165.]
A root hawah is represented in Hebrew by the nouns howah (Ezek., Isa. xlvii. 11) and hawwah (Ps., Prov., Job) “disaster, calamity, ruin.”1 The primary meaning is probably “sink down, fall,” in which sense – common in Arabic – the verb appears in Job xxxvii. 6 (of snow falling to earth). A Catholic commentator of the 16th century, Hieronymus ab Oleastro, seems to have been the first to connect the name “Jehova” with howah interpreting it contritio, sive pernicies (destruction of the Egyptians and Canaanites); Daumer, adopting the same etymology, took it in a more general sense: Yahweh, as well as Shaddai, meant “Destroyer,” and fitly expressed the nature of the terrible god whom he identified with Moloch. [1Cf. Also hawwah, “desire,” Mic. vii. 3; Prov. x. 3.]
The derivation of Yahweh from hawah is formally unimpeachable, and is adopted by many recent scholars, who proceed, however, from the primary sense of the root rather than from the specific meaning of the nouns. The name is accordingly interpreted, He (who) falls (baetyl, βαίτυλος, meteorite); or causes (rain or lightning) to fall (storm god); or casts down (his foes, by his thunderbolts). It is obvious that if the derivation be correct, the significance of the name, which in itself denotes only “He falls” or “He fells,” must be learned, if at all, from early Israelitish conceptions of the nature of Yahweh rather than from etymology.
A more fundamental question is whether the name Yahweh originated among the Israelites or was adopted by them from some other people and speech. The biblical author of the history of the sacred institutions (P) expressly declares that the name Yahweh was unknown to the patriarchs (Exod. vi. 3), and the much older Israelite historian (E) records the first revelation of the name to Moses (Exod. iii. 13-15), apparently following a tradition according to which the Israelites had not been worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses, or, as he conceived it, had not worshipped the god of their fathers under that name. The revelation of the name to Moses was made at a mountain sacred to Yahweh (the mountain of God) far to the south of Palestine, in a region where the forefathers of the Israelites had never roamed, and in the territory of other tribes; and long after the settlement in Canaan this region continued to be regarded as the abode of Yahweh (Judg. v. 4; Deut. xxxiii. 2 sqq.; I Kings xix. 8 sqq. &c.). Moses is closely connected with the tribes in the vicinity of the holy mountain; according to one account, he married a daughter of the priest of Midian (Exod. ii. I6 sqq.; iii. I); to this mountain he led the Israelites after their deliverance from Egypt; there his father-in-law met him, and extolling Yahweh as “greater than all the gods,” offered (in his capacity as priest of the place?) sacrifices, at which the chief men of the Israelites were his guests; there the religion of Yahweh was revealed through Moses, and the Israelites pledged themselves to serve God according to its prescriptions. It appears, therefore, that in the tradition followed by the Israelite historian the tribes within whose pasture lands the mountain of God stood were worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses; and the surmise that the name Yahweh belongs to their speech, rather than to that of Israel, has considerable probability. One of these tribes was Midian, in whose land the mountain of God lay. The Kenites also, with whom another tradition connects Moses, seem to have been worshippers of Yahweh. It is probable that Yahweh was at one time worshipped by various tribes south of Palestine, and that several places in that wide territory (Horeb, Sinai, Kadesh, &c.) were sacred to him; the oldest and most famous of these, the mountain of God, seems to have lain in Arabia, east of the Red Sea. From some of these peoples and at one of these holy places, a group of Israelite tribes adopted the religion of Yahweh, the God who, by the hand of Moses, had delivered them from Egypt.1 [1The divergent Judaean tradition, according to which the forefathers had worshipped Yahweh from time immemorial, may indicate that Judah and the kindred clans had in fact been worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses.] ...
The attempts to connect the name Yahweh with that of an Indo-European deity (Jehovah-Jove, &c.), or to derive it from Egyptian or Chinese, may be passed over. But one theory which has had considerable currency requires notice, namely, that Yahweh, or Yahu, Yaho,1 is the name of a god worshipped throughout the whole, or a great part, of the area occupied by the Western Semites. In its earlier form this opinion rested chiefly on certain misinterpreted testimonies in Greek authors about a god Ἰάω, and was conclusively refuted by Baudissin; recent adherents of the theory build more largely on the occurrence in various parts of this territory of proper names of persons and places which they explain as compounds of Yahu or Yah.2 The explanation is in most cases simply an assumption of the point at issue; some of the names have been misread; others are undoubtedly the names of Jews <sic. Israelites>. There remain, however, some cases in which it is highly probable that names of non-Israelites are really compounded with Yahweh. The most conspicuous of these is the king of Hamath who in the inscriptions of Sargon (722-705 B.C.) is called Yaubi’di and Ilubi’di (compare Jehoiakim-Eliakim). Azriyau of Jaudi, also, in inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser (745-728 B.C.), who was formerly supposed to be Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah, is probably a king of the country in northern Syria known to us from the Zenjirli inscriptions as Ja’di. [1The form Yahu, or Yaho, occurs not only in composition, but by itself; see Aramaic Papyri discovered at Assuan, B 4, 6, 11; E 14; J 6. This is doubtless the original of Ἰάω, frequently found in Greek authors and in magical texts as the name of the God of the Jews. 2See a collection and critical estimate of this evidence by Zimmern, Die Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, 465 sqq.] ...
CONCLUSION NOTES BY WILLIAM FINCK
One thing the commentators fail to see in attempting to find the meaning of YHVH is the connection between the LXX’s ἐγώ εἰμί and the usage of that same phrase by Yahshua Christ in describing Himself, for which see Matt. 14:27 (Mark 6:50; John 6:20); Mark 14:62; John 4:26, (John 6:35, 41, 48), (John 8:12), John 8:18, 8:23-24, 8:28, 8:58, (9:9), 10:7-9, 11, 14, 11:25, 13:19, 14:6, (15:1, 5), 18:5, 6, 8; (Rev. 1:8, 17, 2:23, 22:16). Yahshua used this phrase often, and often it must have vexed the ‘Jews’, who surely must have realized His intention where He used it as a stand-alone phrase, in a manner that directly connects Him with the I AM of the Scriptures (i.e. Isaiah 43, and especially vv. 10-11).
The opinions given concerning the derivation of the word YHVH from the verb hawah, matching the Aramaic, are surely correct. It would be arrogant to think that “Hebrew” as the Israelites used it was the original language of their forebears! Surely both Hebrew and Aramaic had an older, common dialect, to which the word YHVH belonged.
It is apparent to me that the name, which is rather more of a designation, of YHVH was surely known to the patriarchs before Abraham’s time, and – as your article goes on to discuss – so it was found among the writings of other branches of our Genesis 10 race. It was only, and surely with His will, lost to the children of Isaac, and revealed anew to Moses and the Israelites of the Exodus. The word βαίτυλος, which has no evident Greek etymology, very much resembles the Hebrew Beth-el, βαιτ often being written for “Beth” as is evident in various LXX editions.
If one may only “pass over” an attempt to connect Yahweh to the “Indo-European deity” Jove, it is only because one is attempting to uphold the falsehoods of ‘Jewish’ and Israelite Identity as generally understood. Paul of Tarsus knew better, for which see Romans 1:18 ff. Among the languages of Europe, the “v”, “w” and “u” were often interchanged with one another, and in Hebrew, Latin and Greek represented by the same letter. Also the “v” often became a “b” (hence Ιαυε, Ιαβε here). There was no “j” in these languages, the “j” being a recent innovation. It represents an “i” in the early languages. The Latin “v” being a “u”, Jove in Latin is Iove, the equivalent of the Greek Ιουε. Josephus, at Wars 5:5:7, tells us that the name of YHVH is in Greek spelled with four vowels, and he must have had Ιουε, Ιουη or Ιαυε in mind, any of these being a fair transliteration of Yahweh. Jove is plainly equivalent to Yahweh! It has been discussed (i.e. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Classical World) that Jupiter is a contraction of the Latin “Jove, pater”, and so equivalent of “Yahweh, Father.”
It seems to me that the early Christian writers may have gone out of their way in avoiding Ιουε, or even Ιαυε, in a conscious attempt to avoid connecting Yahweh with Ιουε (Jove), and probably for fear of the Romans! This is evident in Clement of Alexandria’s Ιαουε, since he must have known of the testimony of Josephus, who distinctly states that the name could be spelled with four vowels (and not five!)
YAHSHUA TO JESUS:
EVOLUTION OF A NAME
The purpose of this discussion is to show how the name Jesus came into existence. I am certainly not advocating that one should call upon the name of Yahshua Christ, the Redeemer of Israel, using the name Jesus, however there are serious misconceptions concerning the origin of this name which I am compelled to address.
In order to simplify the presentation here, it shall be taken for granted that the proper English representations of the names of our God are Yahweh and Yahshua, as they are transliterated from the Hebrew. I am aware of the Masoretic spellings found in Strong’s Hebrew lexicon (i.e. Yehowshua, see #3091), yet I would dispute them. For yeho- names from the Old Testament became Ἰω- (Iô-) names in the Septuagint translation, and such is not the case with this name. For more information on this topic, see the recent pamphlet from this ministry entitled Which Is It, “Lord” or “Yahweh”? Furthermore, I am not going to make lengthy quotes from lexicons here, but shall be concise or even only paraphrase them where needed in my illustrations. Yet of course I shall cite my sources.
Many in Israel Identity purport that the corruption of Yahshua into Jesus was part of some overt conspiracy by a wicked ‘church’ to somehow replace Yahweh with the Greek Zeus. These people then claim in support of this contention that Jesus (gee-zus) and Zeus (actually pronounced zooce) are sound-alike words, yet actually they don’t sound alike at all. There is no evidence that in ancient times, the first s in Jesus was ever pronounced like a z. Actually, the Hebrews, Greeks and Romans all had a letter z, and could have easily have used it if they so desired. Also, the Roman supreme god was not called Zeus but Jupiter (or also Jove), so for them any supposed connection is less likely. Romans always preferred their own names for the gods over the Greek names (Mars for Ares, Diana for Artemis, Mercury for Hermes, Juno for Hera, ad nauseum), and may even have been offended if compelled to use any form of the name of Zeus. Here I hope to demonstrate just how the name Jesus truly came into being.
Under the entry for Ἰησοῦς (the Greek name from which Jesus is derived), the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament edited by Gerhard Friedrich (hereinafter TDNT) explains that the early Hebrew Yahshua was after the return from Babylon shortened to Yashua. This is the same name as Joshua of the Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint (hereinafter LXX), a book translated from Hebrew into Greek long before any organized “church” could have made a conspiracy, wherever the name Joshua appears we find some form of the Greek equivalent, Ἰησοῦς. Of the final ς here (which in Greek is written σ if it is not the last letter of a word) TDNT states “The LXX retained the later form [Yashua or Yeshua], and made it declinable by adding a Nominative ς.”
First, the “Nominative ς.” allows one writing in Greek to decline the noun Ἰησοῦς, meaning that the word may be represented in the various Greek cases, i.e. Ἰησοῦς (Nominative), Ἰησοῦ (Genitive), Ἰησοῖ or again Ἰησοῦ (Dative), and Ἰησοῦν (Accusative). Declensions are an important part of Greek grammar not fully utilized in English (the ’s is an example, somewhat representing the Genitive case in our language). So adding the s greatly assists the Greek writer. An example of an indeclinable noun in Greek is Δαυίδ (David), which may have been declinable if it were written Δαυιδός (Davidos) though it never was.
Secondly, it may be apparent that the final a sound in Yahshua was also dropped for Greek, so that Ἰησοῦς (yay-soos) is really only equivalent to Yashu. The only place in the LXX where the final vowel sound was retained is the Ἰησουέ of 1 Chron. 7:27, although some LXX versions have it in a couple of other places as well. In the Hebrew spelling, which has no true vowels, the -ua on the end of Yahshua comes from the letter ‘Ayin, and in later Hebrew (between 600 and 900 A.D.) vowel points were added, and here the ‘Ayin was accompanied with vowel points signifying that it is followed by an a sound. The letter a does not actually exist in the name.
Thirdly, the missing h must be addressed. In Greek, there is no letter equivalent to the letter h (Η, aitch). The symbol Η is there, but represents the uppercase vowel eta, which in lowercase is η. While there is a ch in Greek (χ, chi), a th (θ, theta) and a ph (φ, phi) neither is there an sh letter. While the Greeks designated an aspirant (h sound) before words which began with a vowel by using the symbol (‘) which denotes the presence of the sound, or (’) which denotes its absence, there was no way for the Greeks to put such a sound in the middle of a word, for they never did so but for one other exception, the double r sound which is beyond the scope of our discussion here. There is no way for the Greeks to represent an sh in writing.
Yet this is not a problem for the Hebrew speaker, since as can be seen in the “Hebrew Articulation” section of the Hebrew dictionary which accompanies Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, in Hebrew the same letter represents both the s and sh sounds. It would not be a problem at all for a Hebrew reader writing in Greek to see the Hebrew letter Siyn (or Shiyn) and write a Greek sigma (ς).
So that Ἰησοῦς is a natural transliteration into Greek of the Hebrew name Yahshua is easily understood once the conventions of the languages are understood. TDNT observes: “The evidence of the NT is to the same effect [as the LXX]. In Ac 7:45 and Hb 4:8 there is a reference to Ἰησοῦς, i.e. Joshua the son of Nun.”
Now hopefully having established that Ἰησοῦς is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew form of Yahshua, and sufficiently explaining how that may be so, attention may be turned to the Greek, Latin and English.
The Greek eta (Η, η) is a difficult vowel, since it has no direct equivalent in Latin or English. Although the majority of scholars usually represent it in transliterations of names with an e (or ê), there are many who more often represent it with an a. Examples of the η changing among the languages are evident in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, where the Hebrew word for Mede is transliterated by Strong as Maday (Hebrew #4075) and the Greek word, no different in the NT than in all classical Greek, is Μῆδος (Greek #3370), which Strong transliterates Mēdŏs and pronounces may´-dos. In Genesis 10:2, the word at Strong’s Hebrew #4074 was rendered in the A.V. as Madai. So we need not look far to see that the a and the e are both interchangeable with the Greek η.
The letter i at the beginning of a word, when followed by a vowel, James Strong represents with a double e in all of his pronunciations in his Greek lexicon. This is correct, although for practical purposes the i becomes equivalent to the spoken English y in these instances, and this is true for the Latin as well, neither Greek nor Latin having a letter y as we know it. In Greek the symbol Υ represented the uppercase upsilon, lowercase υ, and the equivalent of our own u although it is transliterated most often with a y (examples being the prefixes hyper- and hypo-). In the New College Latin & English Dictionary by John C. Traupman, Ph. D. (hereinafter TNCLED) it is explained that in Latin the letter Υ was “adopted from the Greek into the Roman alphabet for the transliteration of words containing an upsilon (for which u was used earlier), and pronounced approximate as German ü ... but its use was restricted to foreign words.” So while the Hebrew had a y, the yowd, neither Latin nor Greek had an exact equivalent, both using an i in words where today in English we use a j, such as in Jerusalem, Joppa, or Jacob, all of which may be discerned from Strong’s concordance.
When the Roman Latin speakers encountered the Greek Ἰησοῦς, which would have been pronounced yay-soos, or as Strong has it, ee-ay-soos, they wrote Iesus. As we have seen, the e is a fair representation of the Greek η. Checking Strong’s Greek lexicon and the “Greek Articulation” section at its beginning, the ou diphthong in Greek is pronounced as the ou in the English word through. In the pronunciation section of TNCLED on page 4, there is no ou diphthong in Latin, yet the Latin u is by itself able to represent the same sound (“ū u in rude”) as the Greek ou, and so the Latin Iesus is a fair representation of the Greek Ἰησοῦς. Again checking TNCLED, the i in Latin would be treated no differently as it would be in Greek, “ī ee in keen”, as Strong represents it as ee where it begins a word and is followed by another vowel.
Here it must be pointed out that the pronunciation guide in TNCLED is split into two sections, the “Classical Method”, and the “Ecclesiastical Method” which became extant among the clergy in the Medieval period. At the letter s under “Classical Method” it states “always s in sing”, but under “Ecclesiastical Method” it states “s in sing... but when standing between two vowels or when final and preceded by a voiced consonant = z in dozen.” So we see that in the Latin of the later ‘church’, Iesus began to be pronounced yay-zus, yet bear in mind that this change affected a large number of Latin words, and not just this one name.
This leaves us with the English letter j. According to the table entitled “Development of the Alphabet” on p. XXXIV in the opening pages of The American Heritage College Dictionary, third edition (hereinafter AH), the j appeared in the miniscule script which was prevalent from 300-700 A.D., and the Carolingian script from circa 800 A.D., along with later scripts. But of our language AH states that “The English alphabet reached its total of 26 letters only after medieval scribes added w (originally written uu) and Renaissance printers separated the variant pairs i/j and u/v.” And so we see that in English, j became a distinct letter only during the Renaissance, which began in the 14th century, and that the letter was a variant of the letter i.
However, just because in some European scripts we have a j at an early time, that does not mean that the letter was pronounced then as we pronounce it today, as we do the soft g (i.e. gentle, germane) which seems to have come from the French (where it is represented by a zh in pronunciations of French words which appear in AH), although I have by no means fully researched the matter. The Spanish pronounce the j as an English h. In the pronunciation guide to TNCLED on page 5 we find that the j of Medieval (and Ecclesiastical) Latin (for AH attests that Classical Rome did not know the letter) was pronounced like the “y in yes.” Even closer to our language is German, which pronounces the j as a y, and so Jesus in German would sound much the same as it did in Latin, or in Greek.
Checking AH for the pronunciation of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s last name, we find yoong, and the Swiss city Jungfrau is yoong-frou. A Junker, a member of the old Prussian aristocracy, is a yoong-ker. (In all three cases the oo is said to be pronounced as the oo in our word took.) In AH the name of the sea bird called a jaeger, named from the German word for hunter, is pronounced ya-ger. It is common knowledge that the popular German name Johann, our John, is pronounced yo-hann. The Greek spelling is Ἰωάννες (Iôannes).
Beyond the purpose of this document, it must suffice to say that, in spite of the Jews’ and Arabs’ insistence to the contrary, the Gospels were originally written in Greek. While a form of Hebrew (or perhaps Aramaic) was spoken in first century Palestine, Greek was the common language even there, as the historical and archaeological records also attest. The internal evidence, both textually and contextually, leaves no doubt in the mind of the Greek reader that such was the language they were written in. And so it should be evident that Ἰησοῦς was the name which Yahshua Christ was called by and responded to during His walk upon this earth.
Here it should be manifest that Jesus, or the Latin Iesus, evolved naturally from Ἰησοῦς, having suffered several incremental alterations with changes in language and dialect, and so Jesus is not a name produced by some conspiracy, although it should be kept in mind that Ἰησοῦς, Iesus and Jesus were all originally pronounced yay-soos (or yay-sooce), or at least something quite similar. Stripping away the final s, added for the benefit of the Greek (and later Latin) grammar, all of these versions may be represented by the simple Yesu, a form known to Identity scholars in the 19th century, evidenced in the work of E. O. Gordon (Prehistoric London) and others. As we have seen, Yesu is only a Hellenized form of the Hebrew Yahshua, without the final a.
Evident in many places, today’s ‘Jews’ prefer the spelling Yeshua, and in recent times it is a common name among them, though TDNT states that “With the 2nd century A.D.... Ἰησοῦς disappears as a proper name”, it seems to have revived since the founding of the artificial zionist state in Palestine. I feel quite safe in stating that even in Identity, a writer who uses the form Yeshua has been heavily influenced by Jewish literature, and one should view his work in that context, for it may well be suspect. Non-Judaized Israel Identity writers generally use the form Yahshua.
While I cannot disparage the forms Jesus, Yesu, et al., knowing how those forms came to be, yet in my own writings I use the form Yahshua, and I believe that I have good reason for so doing. First, in English there are not the limitations in pronunciation or spelling which the Greek language imposed, which made the form Iesus necessary in the first place. Secondly, the form Yahshua represents a meaning absent in Jesus, its component parts being derived from the words Yahweh (that name which the ‘Jews’ despise, and thus avoid), and a form of a word meaning salvation or to be saved. So Yahshua conveys a meaning which is not evident in the other forms: Yahweh, Savior or Yahweh Saves, descriptive of the very purpose of Yahshua Christ in the first place, and also of His very essence.