Who is Jehovah?

Who is Jehovah?

Jehovah is the LORD, but the word ‘Jehovah’ is based on a misunderstanding. The name of God in the Old Testament in the Hebrew language is spelled as YHWH. In Hebrew, first only consonants were written. Only later vowels were added to make reading easier.

High view of God

The Jews had such a high view of God, that they did not use say His name. Wherever the Bible has the name of God YHWH they would say, ‘Lord’, or in Hebrew ‘Adonai’, which is the other word that the Bible often uses to refer to God. When in later centuries people started adding vowels to the text of the Hebrew Bible, they added the vowels of Adonai to the name of God, to remind the readers they should not pronounce the name of God, but say ‘Adonai’. So now it literally read ‘YaHoWaH’.

King James Bible

In English Bible translations Adonai is translated as ‘Lord’, while YHWH is translated as ‘LORD’, in capitals, to show that here it is the name of God that is used. However, in the King James Bible in seven places the translators thought that the emphasis in the verse is so much on the personal name that they wanted to preserve the actual name. This is in Genesis 22:14; Exodus 6:3 and 17:15; Judges 6:24; Psalms 83:18; and Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4. However, they did not realise the history of the ‘word’ YaHoWaH and they transliterated it as Jehovah.

Not correct

That is the history of the word Jehovah. Nobody knows anymore what the correct vowels were that went with YHWH. The most popular theory states that the word is ‘Yahweh’, but it is far from certain that this is correct. Therefore most modern Bible translations do not use Jehovah or Yahweh, but everywhere translate with ‘LORD’.

Who is the Lord?

Yet far more important than the original pronunciation of the name YHWH is the question: ‘Who is the LORD?’ The Bible gives a clear answer to that question. In Exodus 3:13-16 we read: “Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

So the meaning of God’s name is: I am. I do not change. Forever I am the same. Everything else exists because I made it, but I AM from all eternity. I am who I am- you cannot find it out by your investigations. I am beyond you.

But at the same time God shows us who He is. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is known through what He did in history, and through how He was faithful to His promises. In the New Testament, we get an picture that is much clearer and much more glorious than His revelation to Moses. Jesus, God the Son, shows us who God is. “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

Look at Jesus

Do you want to know who the LORD is? Take a look at Jesus. See His power over death and over nature. See His wisdom in how we should lead our lives. But most of all, see His love for sinners that even went so far that He died for them to give them eternal life. That is who the LORD is. Love Him back and live!

How does this Bible passage speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read What makes God so powerful?

Marten Visser

Marten Visser

Marten Visser, 1971, experienced a call from the Lord to be a missionary while in Kindergarten, and never had any other job ambition. He received M.Div., Th.M. in Missiology, and M.A. in cultural anthropology degrees from Utrecht University, as well as a Ph.D. degree in Theology from the same university. In 1994 he founded Gave, a mission organisation ministering among refugees in the Netherlands. In 2000 he became a church planting missionary in Thailand with OMF, together with his wife Esther. They planted a church in a lower class neighbourhood in Bangkok. In 2006 they moved to Isaan, the North-east of Thailand. Marten planted two more rural churches and a Burmese factory church, while also building up a team of missionary church planters. In 2015 he returned to the Netherlands where he founded GlobalRize. He continues to serve as GlobalRize’s director of evangelism. Marten is an ordained Reformed pastor, who preaches twice almost every Sunday in churches all over the Netherlands. He and his wife have two children.

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