The Truth about 'Sacred' Names, Pagan Names, and the Third Commandment

What is the "truth" about names? Should I use them? Can I use them? Must I use them? Are other names 'pagan'?

[Let it be said upfront that this letter also explains our position on why WE USE many varieties of names/titles of the Father and Son. We share an excerpt of a personal letter written from our local congregation to some former members who started in 'sacred names' and then, later, rejected Paul and then eventually rejected MESSIAH altogether. It is now modified to an open letter to Believers and Seekers of Truth. Please read it through before passing judgment. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.]

The Truth about 'Sacred' Names, Pagan Names, and the Third Commandment

Our dear friends, we again praise you for desire to obey our Father's Commandments. It is His will that we receive His Word and have it written upon our hearts. He desires that His thoughts become our thoughts—that we put on the very mind of Messiah. Let us strive to put on His mind---to love what He loves, hate what He hates, and see all things from His heavenly perspective, not our earthly.

I have so much I want to share with you about the various sects and doctrines of 'Name' proponents that you have allied yourself with. Please bear with me as I help uncover for you the truth of this matter that has caused you to split from many brethren already. I will tell you some things you may have heard, and most assuredly, many things you have never heard on this subject. Please start with no preconceived notions or conclusions, other than that the Scriptures are His Word and our final authority. Please open your hearts in prayer to the Father. Ask Him to reveal the truth to you as you read this. Only He can grant the proper discernment to see the truth in this matter. After you read it all, as I am sure you are eager to hear all you can about the subject before commenting, consider it seriously and then respond, as the spirit would lead you. I know some of this might be heavy. Please bear patiently with the spirit's strength and guidance.

We know it is your desire to obey the Third Commandment, which for again we commend you. Before we examine the Scriptures for our Father's and Messiah's perspective on this precious Commandment, let us lay some groundwork by gaining some Scriptural perspective on the Hebrew word 'shem' (which is translated as 'name' in our English translation of the Third Commandment)

NAME

The English word 'name' is often translated from the Hebrew words 'shem' and 'shum' and the Greek word 'onoma.' None of these words are limited to the pronunciation of a literal name—specifically, the Tetragrammaton, as Sacred Names groups would have us believe. The following are some of the meanings of the Hebrew words 'shem' and 'shum' and the Greek word 'onoma'

Old Testament Hebrew

New Testament Greek

The first occurrence of the Hebrew word 'shem' is in reference to a river. The passage is not about the name of God (YHWH), but it can establish a truth that is of a major importance to understanding:

Genesis 2:10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name <shem> of the first is Pison <Piyshown>: that is it which compasseth <cabab> the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

We see that the name of the river is called Pishon because it spreads or disperses around the whole land (of Havilah). Now review the definition of Pishon:

6376. Piyshown: Nwvyp Piyshown pee-shone' from 6335; dispersive; Pishon, a river of Eden:--Pison. See Hebrew 6335 puwsh: a primitive root; to spread; figuratively, act proudly:--grow up, be grown fat, spread selves, be scattered.

We see that the name was merely a description of the character or nature of the thing being named. Such as when YHWH changed Abram's name to Abraham (father of many nations); and Jacob (heel-grabber) was changed to Israel (he will prevail with God). This is not a new perception, as among the Jews this is the common understanding of what a 'name' refers to. This is an important truth! Let us use that understanding for a building block in our study.

Proverb 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. (KJV)

What is meant by the statement 'a good name'? Is it a literal name being spoken of? Is a good spelling and pronunciation of a name more desirable than riches to help the poor? Or, rather, is it a good reputation of character that is referred to here? You know the answer!

Proverbs 22:1 Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold. (NLT)

Another example:

Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born. (NLT)

Now some of the Sacred Name movement would have you believe that your salvation depends on using the 'proper' name and its 'proper' pronunciation. This is not an old doctrinal argument, but a recent one. The Scriptures show no trace of such a dispute. It is a divisive doctrine that appeals to those who are not yet weaned from the breasts. Have you begun in the spirit, only to now be saved by the physical? Let us endeavor to lift the veil a little.

THE THIRD COMMANDMENT

Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take <nasa'> the name <shem> of the LORD <Yhvh> thy God <'elohiym> in vain <shav'>; for the LORD <Yhvh> will not hold him guiltless <naqah> that taketh <nasa'> his name <shem> in vain <shav'>.

Three Key Words in the Hebrew Text:

'TAKE' # 5375. nasa' (naw-saw') or nacah (Psalm 4 : 6 (7)) {naw-saw'}; a primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literal and figurative, absol. and rel. (as follows):--accept, advance, arise, (able to, (armor), suffer to) bear(-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honorable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.

'NAME' # 8034. shem, a primitive word (perhaps rather from 7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare 8064); an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character:--+ base, (in-)fame(-ous), named(-d), renown, report.

'VAIN' # 7723. shav' shawv or shav {shav}; from the same as 7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverbially, in vain):--false(-ly), lie, lying, vain, vanity. See Hebrew 7722 show' sho or (feminine) showtah {sho-aw'}; or shoah {sho-aw'}; from an unused root meaning to rush over; a tempest; by implication, devastation:--desolate(-ion), destroy, destruction, storm, wasteness.

Adherents of 'The Names' like to render this verse: 'Thou shalt not take the name of YHVH thy Elohim for a thing of naught, for YHVH will not hold him guiltless, he who takes His name for a thing of naught' " or 'Thou shalt not speak the name of YHWH Elohim falsely for YHWH will not hold him guiltless that takes His name falsely.'

It appears from the doctrine held by many "sacred namers" that the basis for their stance is this 3rd Commandment. Is this REALLY an injunction against those who don't worship a certain set of phonetics sounds and symbols?

'First, what does it mean to 'take the name of YHWH'? The Hebrew word that is translated as 'take' is the Hebrew word 'nacah' (naw-saw'). It is Strong's number 5375, and means to 'lift up, to exalt, to bear, to carry.'

What does it mean to take His name 'in vain'? The Hebrew word that is translated as 'vain' is the Hebrew word 'shav.' It is Strong's number 7723, and it means 'emptiness, nothingness, vanity, worthlessness of conduct.'

Can you see the depth of meaning when you examine the Hebrew words?

Now that we have a better handle on the meaning of these words, a paraphrased translation of the third commandment could be: "'Thou shalt not bear the name of YHVH thy Elohim if your conduct is worthless, for YHVH will not hold him guiltless that carries His name and conducts himself in a worthless manner.' We could also plug in the English word 'exalt' instead of 'bear.' If you exalt the name of YHVH yet conduct yourself in a worthless manner, you are a hypocrite! Could it be that the scribes who started the tradition of not pronouncing 'the name' of The Almighty did not want to bear the name of YHVH, or exalt the name of YHVH because they feared being known as hypocrites? Along with bearing or exalting the name of YHWH comes the responsibility of conducting yourself in a responsible manner with respect to the word of YHVH.' (written and posted by a 'sacred name' doctrine believer on a message board online)

This man wrote with some wisdom in reckoning that this commandment is one against hypocrisy. The same sin that Yeshua/Jesus accused the Pharisees of. However, does this command only apply to "sacred namers" because it refers only to those 'who take the name of YHWH'? Is it only those who use the pronunciation, "Yahweh" (or some of the other guess names) while conducting themselves in a worthless manner that break this precious commandment?

May it never be conceived!

Ancient Israel knew ancient Hebrew. They could fluently read it, write it, and speak it. They knew the correct pronunciation of all the words of Scripture---including what is now known as the Tetragrammaton (which merely means 'four letters'). Yet, throughout Scripture we find that the Eternal has proclaimed that they have profaned His name.

Did they misspell, or mispronounce, His name? No! Did they use the wrong name? No!

How then did they profane His holy name?

What saith the Scriptures?

Leviticus 18:20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her. 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

The context of Leviticus 18 is sexual sins--what has this to do with not using the 'proper name' of God, as some interpret the injunction against profaning his 'shem'? The word rendered 'profane' may be understood as 'prostitute' (see Leviticus 21:9), as in: 'Thou shalt not prostitute the name of thy 'Elohiym' (God) [by taking My name then acting like a harlot]. Let us look further at the matter.

Leviticus 20:1 And the LORD (YHWH) spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 And I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile My sanctuary, and to profane My holy name.

We see here that God's holy name was profaned by a man giving his seed to Molech--not by misspelling or mispronouncing God's "name," nor by calling him a different name or title. It was the man's actions, as a man of the covenant, which caused profanation of God's reputation.

Leviticus 19:9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. 10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. 11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12 And ye shall not swear by My name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Again, why mention "neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God" in this context (don't steal, don't deal falsely, don't lie--don't swear falsely by name or profane name--don't defraud, don't rob, nor keep back wages) if this command against profanation truly is one concerning the use or disuse of certain phonetic sounds?

Leviticus 21:5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. 6 They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.

How would the priests avoid profaning God's name? By saying it a certain way? No, by being holy unto their God. It is acts of unholiness that profanes His name. The Word of God is telling you this – not any man.

Leviticus 22:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not My holy name in those things which they hallow unto Me: I am the LORD. 3 Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the LORD.

The Torah says here that the priests would profane God's holy name if they would offer sacrifices while being in the state of uncleanness, or offer improper sacrifice, etc. Read the entire chapter to see the context--it even concludes with the same notion:

Leviticus 22:31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. 32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you

Like the other Scriptures we have already examined, this has NOTHING to do with an alleged commandment to use only a certain pronunciation of phonetic sounds (i.e., a proper name).

Jeremiah 34:14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto Me, neither inclined their ear. 15 And ye were now turned, and had done right in My sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name: 16 But ye turned and polluted My name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

JHVH (or YHWH) here proclaims that His name was polluted by Israel. What was the evidence He presented them? Disuse of "Yahweh" (sic)? No. How about mispronunciation? No.

His claim of evidence that they polluted His name: Disobedience to the Sabbatical Year law.

Ezekiel 20:39 As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto Me: but pollute ye My holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.

God once again proclaims that His name was polluted by Israel.

Was it for using a title (i.e., "God/Elohim," "Lord/Adonai," etc.)?

Was it for not professing the 'tetragrammaton"? No, it was for their idolatry and sacrifice!

Ezekiel 43:7 And He said unto me, Son of man, the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. 8 In their setting of their threshold by My thresholds, and their post by My posts, and the wall between Me and them, they have even defiled My holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. 9 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from Me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.

Hear His proclamation yet more! What evidence does He present this time?

Israel's abominations and whoredoms have defiled His name!

They have ruined/profaned/polluted His name by their deeds, not by their speech. Please note, there has yet been no mention of His expectation for His people to be worshipping a word or using a specific pronunciation of sounds to refer to Him.

Amos 2:6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes; 7 That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane My holy name:

Three, even four, transgressions that profane His name, yet not one of them listed here is the disuse of the "sacred name," or the use of "titles" or other languages to refer to Him.

Malachi 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is Mine honour? and if I be a master, where is My fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised Thy name? 7 Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 1:11 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 heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even His meat, is contemptible. 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.

Like the instruction we read in Leviticus 22, the priest would profane His holy name by offering polluted sacrifice. Here, YHWH proclaims that they have despised, polluted, and profaned His name by sneering at His commands to sacrifice and calling them a burden, and furthermore by offering despicable things (i.e., the torn, lame, and sick). This is His Word – not man's.

The New Testament, of course, upholds the Old in this matter. The 'profanation' or 'blaspheming' of God's name written of in Holy Scripture has been shown to be akin to calling yourself 'His' and then acting other than the like. The apostle Paul stated:

Romans 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

18 And knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. [Possibly a reference to Isaiah 52:5]

Paul here says that God's name was blasphemed amongst the gentiles by the Jews when they would be hypocritical in their ways. They would teach against stealing, adultery, and idolatry, yet partake of these sins themselves. In each of these things, the name of God was, and is, blasphemed. The blaspheming of the 'name' of God means the 'reputation and character' of the true God is blasphemed. That is, one's conduct is such as to lead the heathen world to blaspheme and reproach both that one's religion, and its Author. By one's hypocrisy and crimes, the pagan world is led to despise a religion that is observed to have no effect in purifying and restraining its professors; and of course the reproach will end up on the Author of this one's religion--that is, the true God. A life of purity would tend to honor religion and its Author; a life of impurity does the reverse.

1Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

Paul testifies here that the name of God won't be blasphemed if servants honor their masters. (Again, nothing to do with pronouncing a certain name)

What's the conclusion of the matter of the 3rd commandment?

If you say you are His, then act like it! Love JHVH/YHWH our Elohim and love your neighbor as yourself. Bind up their wounds. Go the extra mile. Give, even out of poverty. Remove people's unnecessary burdens--don't lay more upon them by the traditions and commandments of men: No words of chastisement or instruction are ever given in Scripture to worship any set of phonetic sounds or symbols. Will you add to the word of God?

A name is a created thing, which God commands us not to worship. We are commanded to worship God, not the letters or pronunciation of His name. When we ascribe power to a name, we are ascribing power to something that was created, not to its creator. A name has no significance or meaning without the person. A name only serves to identify. Names and titles applied to God describe His attributes, character, and being. Those who call on a name or title as the way to salvation should read Matthew 7:21-22 and Luke 6:46, which speak of people who call upon and appropriate the name of the Lord, but do not do the things that He commands.

PAGAN NAMES?

Invariably, the proponents of SN doctrine will always attack terms such as 'Lord' as being 'pagan' names of other gods. Let us briefly look at this doctrine of deceit.

= YHWH or JHVH Strong's #3068 self-existent One, = YHWH in paleo-Hebrew before Babylonian Captivity =

Let's start by looking at some falsely called 'pagan' names or titles.

The Lord: Comes from Adon, Adonai, etc. = Adon (Adown) is a HEBREW word not a 'pagan' one. This English word 'Lord,' did not even come into existence and use until ca. the 12th century AD, therefore it cannot be construed as being 'the name of Baal.' Since no such pronunciation was in existence in Biblical days.

Strong's # 113. 'adown or (shortened) adon {aw-done'}; from an unused root (meaning to rule); sovereign, i.e. controller (human or divine):-- lord, master, owner. Compare also names beginning with "Adoni-".

The Lord Himself uses this term for Himself. Who is lying? Who has no knowledge? Will you believe men …or YHWH?

Conclusion: It is perfectly acceptable to refer to Him by such a title as 'Adon' or 'Lord'.

Ba'al: Ba'al is also a HEBREW word … not a 'pagan' one.

Strong's # 1166. ba`al a primitive root; to be master; hence, (as denominative from 1167) to

marry:--have dominion (over), be husband, marry(-ried, X wife). See Hebrew 1167 ba`al from 1166; a master; hence, a husband, or (figuratively) owner (often used with another noun in modifications of this latter sense):--+ archer, + babbler, + bird, captain, chief man, + confederate, + have to do, + dreamer, those to whom it is due, + furious, those that are given to it, great, + hairy, he that hath it, have, + horseman, husband, lord, man, + married, master, person, + sworn, they of.

The term 'ba'al' is used many times in the Word of God. In Genesis 20:3 Abraham is called "ba-al"; in Exo 21:22 husband is called "ba-al"; in Exo 21:29 an owner of an ox is called a "ba-al"; in Exo 22:8 a master of a house is called "ba-al"; in Lev 21:4 a chief man is called "ba-al"; in Judges 9:2,3,6,7,18,20,23-26,46, and 47, the men of Shechem are all called "ba-al"; in 1Sam 23:2 David calls the men of Keilah "ba-al"; in Esther 1:17 husbands are called "ba-al"; in Proverbs 1:19 owners are called "ba-al"; in Isaiah 16:8 Lords of the heathen are called "ba-al"; in Jer 3:20 husband is called "ba-al"; in Jer 37:13 captain is the word "ba-al"; and in Joel 1:8 husband is called "ba-al".

All these instances illustrate that different men in different times understood the word "ba-al" not to necessarily have a pagan or idolatrous meaning. This Hebrew word is only 'pagan' when one replaces the True God with a false god, and this false one is referred to as ba'al. One would be turning from calling God their Master, to calling an idol/false god their master. If one calls the pre-existent Messiah 'ba'al' (or its properly translated form of 'Lord' or 'Master'), it imbues the exact same meaning as denoting 'He Who Has Dominion Over Us.' The Lord calls Himself that word, and He cannot lie.

So we see as fact that the Lord also uses the term 'ba'al' to describe Himself … thus saith the Scripture.

In 1 Chronicles 12.5, there is the personal name Bealiah ="Yah is Baal" Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Names: "B'alyah, m. Baalia. ...a comp. of the appell. = Baal, lord, possesor (vid. Baal), and Yah, the abbreviated form of the divine name, Y'hovah, Jehovah, vid. Abia"

1183. B@`alyah beh-al-yaw' from 1167 and 3050; Jah (is) master; Bealjah, an Israelite:--Bealiah. See Hebrew 1167. ba`al - ba`al bah'-al from 1166; a master; hence, a husband, or (figuratively) owner. Hebrew 3050. Yahh Yahh yaw contraction for 3068, and meaning the same; Jah, the sacred name:--Jah, the Lord, most vehement. Compare names in "-iah," "- jah." See Hebrew 3068

So we have a record of a personal name saying that Jah or Yah is Ba'al. This merely backs up what the Lord said of Himself.

Conclusion: It is perfectly acceptable to also call Him Lord, or Master, or Husband – any of which are good translations. Will you believe God or men? If certain men have taught you error in this, shouldn't you examine more closely the rest of what they are teaching you?

Final Conclusion on the Third Commandment: The Word of God has successfully destroyed the myth that you cannot use the terms 'Lord' or 'Master' to denote the Father or the Son. We have learned by the Scriptures that we take the Lord's name in vain when we call ourselves His, but do not show it in the fruit of our actions. When we act unholy yet call ourselves by His Holy name (personage), it constitutes blasphemy. The Scriptures do not contain a single support for the mispronunciation, or disuse, of YHWH or JHVH to be a matter pertaining to the Third Commandment.

Isn't that wonderful that such a deceptive burden is lifted from us? The yoke of truth is light indeed! We can now take the 3rd commandment out of the 'should I use sacred names' equation and ask more questions and seek more facts on this pernicious doctrine.

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Zeus?

We already looked at some titles for YHWH that SN'ers called pagan but scripture proved different. Sacred Namers also promulgate a lie when they put down the name of Jesus as being 'pagan.' They say erroneously that Jesus is from 'Ye Zeus.' "Jesus" is not from "Zeus" but from "Iesua.' In fact, the Greek form of Zeus is…uh…Zeus or Dios. Zeus (means "Living") was the chief God of the Greeks … I think they would get his name right, don't you?

The idea that Iesous is the Ionic masculine form of Iaso, the Greek goddess of healing cannot be substantiated. In the abridged and unabridged editions of Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott there is no such word connected with Iaso. Iesous is listed as the name of Jesus, which this Lexicon says is the Greek form of the Hebrew name 'Joshua'.

Iesous is in no way related to Iaso, the Greek goddess of healing. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology says this: "Iesous is the Greek form of the Old Testament Jewish name Yeshua, arrived at by transcribing the Hebrew and adding an s to the nom. to facilitate declension.' Language scholars all agree that the name 'Jesus' is a direct translation of the Greek 'Joshua' which proves that the 'Zeus' story is a lie against the Savior.

A point to consider is that when Paul preached to Greeks at Athens, he preached about Jesus (Acts 17:18,31). The Greeks accused Paul of being a 'setter forth of strange gods'. They did not connect the name 'Jesus' with the hometown Greek god named 'Zeus.' What do you believe? The word of men, or the Scriptures? This simply points out that there is not a single historical, scholarly, or biblical source that etymologically connects 'Jesus' with the god 'Zeus.' All authorities state that 'Jesus' is the Greek form of the Hebrew word 'Joshua' or Aramaic word 'Jeshua.' It has also the same root as 'Hosea' or 'Hoshea' or 'Oshea.' In fact, Joshua's birth name was Hoshea (Deut 32:44), which means 'salvation.' JHWH (or YHWH) added to the word for salvation gave us Jehovah-Oshea or Je-oshea … or Joshua. The names Hosea, Joshua, and Jesus are all derived from the same Hebrew root word meaning "salvation" but "Joshua" and "Jesus" include an additional idea, "YHWH or JHWH is Salvation!"

Is 'Jesus' truly a pagan name brought in after Christianity began? Below you will see a clip from the Septuagint Greek Scriptures, translated from Hebrew to Greek around 280BC. This clip is a copy of Zechariah 3:3. Here in the Greek text of the Old Testament, translated around 280BC, we have the name of Jesus (Joshua). In the King James Version, this "IESOUS" is spelled Joshua.

If one wants to continue in these fairy tales of men regarding pagan sources of names, then consider the following facts. These can be proven with little research. Did you know that historical evidence shows that 'Yahve' was the name of an Amorite God? And that "Yah" was the Egyptian moon god and "Shu(a)" was the Egyptian sky god?

[In the Coffin Texts, the deceased proclaims that he "knows the one who is small on the second day of the month and big on the fifteenth, it is Thot", referring to the waxing moon of the first half of the lunar month.Like the two most important other lunar gods, Iah,(Yah) whose name simply means "moon", and Khonsu, whose name "the wanderer" refers to the cycles of the moon, Thot is very closely associated with the calculation of time in specific and arithmetic in general. As the master of passing time, he is called "the scribe who counts the years".As a lunar god, he was responsible for completing the moon during its cycle, that is to say, to make sure that time passes as it is supposed to. He is thus often called "the one who completes (the moon)" or "the one who counts the things that are brought (to him)", where "the things that are brought (to him)" refers to the pieces of the wounded lunar eye (the moon). The waning and waxing of the moon were explained in mythology as the eye of the moon being wounded (waning) and healed (waxing), and Thot was the god who took care of the healing.As such, Thot becomes much more than just a lunar god. He is the guardian of the moon, the healer of the lunar eye and, together with the sky god Shu,

Around 1567 Genebrardus came up with the name "Iahve, Jahve" (Chronographia, Paris, 1567 (ed. Paris, 1600, p. 79 seq). How did Genebrardus invent this new translation of the tetragrammaton? Actually he borrowed from Clement of Alexandria (a Platoist Gnostic early Catholic) the Greek spelling IAOVE (Zeus), which is universally known as JOVE (Roman Jupiter), and converted JAOVE to YAOVE adding the H and dropping the O, hence YAHVE! Yahve would then be none other than Zeus or Jupiter! Do you see how this 'pagan' language trap is a problem? All religions sprang from a form of the truth and then some went astray by ascribing YHWH's power and holiness upon the created things rather than the creator (For example Sun-worship attributed the deity of YHWH to the created thing i.e. sun; so they had some basic premises of truth but were led astray by their idolatry. They made the sun a god.) Is it any wonder that some similar names and titles might be found in other cultures?

At least these name abductions of Yahve and Yah-shua are true, but the Jesus-from-Zeus myth is totally unfounded and should be abandoned by anyone seeking to walk in the truth. Consider that even the so-called pagan myths have their roots in original truths.

Excerpted from the ISBE: GOD, NAMES OF 5. "Yahweh": The name most distinctive of God as the God of Israel is (Yahweh, a combination of the tetragrammaton (YHWH) with the vowels of 'Adhonay, transliterated as Yehowah, but read aloud by the Hebrews 'adhonay). While both derivation and meaning are lost to us in the uncertainties of its ante-Biblical origin, the following inferences seem to be justified by the facts:
(1) This name was common to religions other than Israel's, according to Friedr. Delitzsch, Hommel, Winckler, and Guthe (Encyclopaedia Biblica, s.v.), having been found in Babylonian inscriptions. Ammonite, Arabic and Egyptian names appear also to contain it (compare Davidson, Old Testament Theol., 52 f); but while, like 'Elohim, it was common to primitive Semitic religion, it became Israel's distinctive name for the Deity.
(2) It was, therefore, not first made known at the call of Moses 3:13-16; 6:2-8>, but, being already known, was at that time given a larger revelation and interpretation: God, to be known to Israel henceforth under the name "Yahweh" and in its fuller significance, was the One sending Moses to deliver Israel; "when I shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said .... I WILL BE THAT I WILL BE .... say .... I WILL BE hath sent me" ( 3:13-14> m). The name is assumed as known in the narrative of Genesis; it also occurs in pre-Mosaic names .
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)

The true titles of God were used by the other nations, albeit with their own language spin on them.

These examples are not to deter your faith but to restore it to the proper gospel. Your salvation does not depend on a pronunciation.

It may depend on how you treat brethren over such arguable doctrines. Be very careful – be like Him. Do not judge brethren by the names they call God but how they act under His headship.

We hope this clears up some misconceptions over pagan names. Please bear with us, as there is much more to cover with you to restore you to the truth.

Praise Your Name
1 Chronicles 29:13 "Now therefore, our Mighty One, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. (NKJ). Some SN advocates would ask the question: How do we praise His name if we don't/won't use it?

Does the use of the word "name" literally refer to God's name, or does it rather refer to His personage as a whole? Does God really desire that His actual name be praised? Does He want His name worshipped? Is a name really an object of worship and adoration? I mean, using the above-cited Scripture, was David really giving the praise to God, or was he just worshipping a word (God's name)? Ask yourself these questions.

When "your name has been dragged through the mud," has it ruined the name "Fred" or "Wilma" or whatever, or has it rather sullied your reputation--your personage? Is this not rather what God is concerned about? That His name [His reputation] be not blasphemed?

If it is His actual literal name that is meant in Scripture, then pray tell, what is the meaning of this?:

Jer 23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed [a false Num 12:6]. 26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; 27 Which think to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten My name for Baal.

I know many "namers" like verse 27. It is pointed to, saying, " '...forgotten My name for Baal..' 'baal' means 'lord,' and what have the translators changed His name to...LORD--they have forgotten 'Yahweh' for 'LORD' (baal)"

However, did you notice in verse 25 that these prophets which have caused God's people to forget His name also "...prophesy lies in My name..."? Do you see the problem with interpreting this as literally speaking of His name (JHVH, YHVH, YHWH)? If a man was preaching, "Yahweh has said..." "Yahweh has commanded...." "Yahweh has determined..." "Yahweh has sent...", how could anyone possibly forget His actual name--for it was constantly being prophesied in?

Now to answer the SN question: How do we praise His name if we don't/won't use it? Let me show you a more excellent way!

We should be as our fathers in faith: David, being after God's heart, and Abraham, being a friend of God. We should "present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service."

We should "love one another" and "we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren--"By this shall all men know that ye are Messiah's disciples"

"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

It is our actions of righteousness, our works in agreement with our faith, which glorifies our Father--not the name or title we use to identify Him. As a father myself, I think He is most glorified in seeing His children imitate His manners. It is not what my son calls me that shows me his praise and love, but rather it is his actions. As Jesus showed us in His model prayer, we are to regard Him as "our Father," and we are to respect and glorify our Father as dear children--imitating Him, being perfect as He is perfect. Herein is our God and Father glorified
.

Myth: Your Salvation Depends Upon Using the "Sacred Name"

A main myth of the SN movement is that without using the "Sacred Name" we cannot hope to attain "this prize" (eternal/everlasting life). For Sacred Namers, salvation/everlasting life depends upon using "The Sacred Name."
Many sacred name teachers believe, and very vocally teach, that unless one uses the Hebrew name, and only the Hebrew name for God (and uses it correctly), he or she will be eternally damned. [It should be noted that not all sacred name teachers are so dogmatic.] But, there is no Bible text that supports this assertion.

Throughout Scripture salvation/everlasting life is a free gift given by God's grace and is not dependent upon any works including the use, or the "right" pronunciation, of any word. Some Sacred Namers will think it but won't actually SAY that your salvation is dependent but then make allusions that the non-user of the name is not going to be in the kingdom. WARNING! Such Sacred Namers are setting up a condition for salvation by works which is not Biblical and which constitutes the teaching of another gospel!

Paul was very clear that those who teach another gospel are twice condemned: "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" -- Galatians 1:6-9.

So, you might say, 'I know we are saved by grace and that works do not earn us salvation. But we are still required to keep the law.' Yes, I agree, It is true that 'good works' flow from those walking in the spirit. But if one takes that stance in regard to Hebrew names for God they are standing on sinking sand for it is not in the law and would negate grace. Must we now speak in tongues to have God hear us? Must we all speak biblical Hebrew?

Must Believers Speak Hebrew?

"Sacred Name" enthusiasts overlook the simple fact that God spoke to the Hebrews in Hebrew because that was the language they understood. Actually, today's Hebrew language is not the Hebrew understood by the most ancient Hebrew peoples (more on this later). Throughout the Old Testament, and also the New Testament, God communicated His messages in the language His hearers understood: sometimes it was Aramaic, sometimes Hebrew, sometimes Egyptian, sometimes Babylonian, sometimes Persian, and so on. One specific example is found in Acts chapter 2, where, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostles spoke in the Galilean dialect and their listeners heard them in each of their own native languages -- some 18 common languages in all! They each heard the Words of God in their native tongues.

These Biblical examples make it plain that God's native tongue is not Hebrew. God does not proclaim Hebrew to be superior to any other language. Show me such a passage if you can. God does not require sinners to speak Hebrew to be saved (Abraham was a Babylonian, Timothy and Luke were Greeks, Peter and Paul were Jews, the Centurion was a Roman). And, most important of all, God does not require any of us to use any so-called "Sacred Name" derived from Hebrew. Those assertions belong to Sacred Name proponents alone, and these ideas are neither Biblical, nor Christian.

Most users of 'The Names' state that the "Sacred Name" means "eternal, everlasting life." They have no qualms about using English words to explain the meaning of the "Sacred Name" to us. So, if we refer to God in English as "The Eternal" or "The Source of Everlasting Life" then we clearly understand the "meaning" of His Name. For those who speak English, English is superior to Hebrew in that we understand English. While working among the Greek-speaking Corinthians, Paul chastised those who insisted on addressing the congregation in foreign languages that were unintelligible to the listeners. He concluded his remarks with an appeal to quit being infants in their thinking: "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults." -- 1 Corinthians 14:18-20.

According to Paul, individuals like some Sacred Namers are not elevating their readers to a higher plane of holy lifestyle by using Hebrew words. Instead they are miring their readers in childish thoughts and a cult mentality.

God is not confined, neither are we, to using Hebrew. In Daniel chapter one we find that the names of some of God's prophets were changed by the order of the Babylonian king into 'Babylonian names.'

Daniel 1:6-7 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

Not one word of complaint is heard from the men of God.

Which "Sacred Name?"

But that is just the tip of the problem for "Sacred Name" enthusiasts, for to suggest that the only Old Testament name for God is "YHVH" is contrary to the evidence. There are at least 12 different names/titles for God given in the Old Testament such as: Jah, Elohim, Jehovah/Yahweh, El-Shaddai, Adonai. In addition, eight of these are compound words: Jehova-jireh, Yahweh-rophe, Jehovah-nissi, Yahweh-M'Kaddesh, Jehovah-shalom, Yahweh-tsidkenu, Jehova-rohi, and Yahweh-shammah. The fact that these are compound names ("Yahweh" or 'Jehovah'+ another word) indicates that the term "Yahweh" alone is not sufficient to describe God's character. Thus in the Bible itself, there is not one "Sacred Name." There are several personal interpretations on how to render the four letters of YHWH or JHVH. [As a side note, many scholars are returning to the rendering 'Jehovah' because they realize that today's Hebrew is most likely not the language of the ancient men of God.]

When we look at the historical evidence, we see that demanding pronunciation of the Messiah's name in one specific language is a non-issue, for we know that the Messiah's name, even in His own day, was pronounced different ways. We know from historical evidence that Palestinian Jews in the time of Jesus commonly spoke Aramaic. The Gospels give evidence to the fact that Jesus also spoke in Aramaic by leaving certain of His words untranslated from Aramaic (Mark 5:41; 7:34). In Aramaic, Jesus' name would have been pronounced 'Yeshua,' 'Jesus' in Greek, 'Yesu' by the Galileans (including Jesus Himself), and as 'Yeshu' in southern Israel, because they were typically able to pronounce the "sh" sound of the Hebrew letter shin, whereas northern Israelites could not (See Judges 12:5-6). In addition to Aramaic, however, most Jews spoke, or were at least familiar with Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. All of these languages were spoken in the region of Judea because it was a popular trading route. When interacting with various individuals, the Messiah would have heard His name pronounced three or four different ways. The point here is that Yahwists make a big case for pronunciation of the name of the Messiah and the name of the Father in Hebrew (which is really Aramaic-derived Hebrew) and these teachers of error ridicule Greek as a pagan and profane tongue.

THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE WAS CORRUPTED

Some time after flood, the world was still one language [Gen 11:1]. Was that language Hebrew? It is impossible to be so. God confounded the original language. Do you get that? Whatever the original language was … it was confounded. It ceased to exist altogether. God created a bunch of other languages instantly. God created all languages that were in existence at that time. None were 'pagan.' Do you believe God or men?

Genesis 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. Genesis 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:6-9 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of ALL the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

After the tower of Babel, nine men could point toward heaven at the same time. One could utter "El"; another could utter "Neter"; another could utter "Theos"; another could utter "Deus"; another could say "Adonai"; another could say "Neb"; another 'Jehovah,' another could say "Moryo"; another could say "Kurios"; and yet another say "Dominus." All were speaking of the same being, the same God, the same LORD. It is when these names and titles are stolen by the profane and used to designate their gods that these carry a stigma of rebuke and shame. The biblical text proves to us that the language(s) of ALL the earth was confounded – not all the earth except for the portion God let speak Hebrew.

So we see and know as fact that God created all languages and wants all men to call upon Him. Who is it that is bold enough to cause them to stumble by requiring only one certain language? New Testament Greek or Hebrew?

Another Myth of Sacred Name Movement: The New Testament was originally written in Hebrew.

Jesus spoke Aramaic and Greek, Luke was a Greek physician, John wrote his Gospel to non-Hebrews.

Here is something else to consider. The book of the Revelation is written "to the seven churches which are in Asia." All seven churches are in Greek cities. The Roman province of Asia is today's Turkey. Before the Romans controlled that area, Greek people had lived there for centuries. John received and likely wrote the Revelation while in exile on a Greek-speaking island just off the coast of Asia. The people to whom John wrote were Greek. There is no reason why John would have written in any language other than Greek. Furthermore, John wrote Jesus' words, "I am Alpha and Omega." That is Greek.

Historians agree that Greek was the language that united people in the Roman Empire. The Jewish historian Josephus shows in his writings that the Greek language was understood well by Jews living in and out of Palestine.

In fact, the Talmud shows there were synagogues in which the Jewish law permitted the Greek language to be spoken: "May be read in foreign tongue to them that speak a foreign tongue" (Megillah 2:1). And it further permitted: "That the books [the law, the writings, Psalms, etc.] may be written in any language." However, at the time of Christ these books were "only permitted to be written in Greek" (Megillah 8b)

You and I can know by this that the New Testament was written in Greek. We can trust Jesus. He is honest. He is the faithful witness. I believe His testimony that He is the Alpha and Omega. I also believe those words are Greek. John wrote to the seven churches that reside in Greek-speaking provinces. I am compelled to conclude that most of the New Testament was written in Greek.

Here is something to consider:

1.) There are over five thousand Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.

2.) There are exactly zero manuscripts of a Hebrew New Testament.

There are hand-written 'copies' (translated from the Greek) of the New Testament in Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and Arabic, amongst others. Every translation in each of these languages is a translation from Greek. Greek manuscripts do exist. They can be examined. That is empirical evidence. There is something tangible to put your hands on. There is something to see.

Either whole or in part, there are over five thousand manuscripts of the Greek New Testament (5,686 to be exact). These are not translations; they are direct copies of the originals. Any other ancient book does not approach this number. Manuscripts of the works of Josephus, a Jewish historian born about A.D. 37, number only a handful. Other ancient writers cannot be found in even as large a number as that. But, of the New Testament there are five thousand plus manuscripts, all in Greek. This is an impressive amount of evidence.

To the five thousand plus Greek manuscripts, we add more than ten thousand biblical quotations by ancient writers written in the Greek. That is a staggering sum of witnesses to the Greek New Testament. It is especially impressive because advocates of a Hebrew/Aramaic New Testament can find exactly zero evidence of manuscripts to support their theory. If you were setting about to prove something, think of how you would feel if you had exactly no evidence.

What is the Score? Original Greek New Testament ...........15,000 + Original Hebrew New Testament..................0

Please also consider that most of the quotations in the NT from the OT are not direct translations from the Hebrew Scriptures, but quotes from the Septuagint (LXX) translation of the OT. Even Jesus quoted from the LXX. Just one example to prove this is Jesus' quotation of the OT in Matthew 15:8-9. Had He been quoting the Hebrew Scriptures, the force of His argument would not stand (In the Hebrew it says that the fear of God was taught by the commands of men, whereas the LXX says that men are teaching the commands and doctrines of men). He was basing His argument from the LXX translation, which was commonly used by the Jews in the first century. The NT writers not only had knowledge of Greek, but also wrote all of the NT books exclusively in Greek.

Language is a Key

What language was the New Testament Bible written in? Sacred Namers might say all in Hebrew. Even one Scripture can destroy that myth, such as in John 5:2 'Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.' Now why would the apostle have to say what the pool is called 'in the Hebrew tongue,' if everything he wrote was in Hebrew? It is evident that John's gospel account was written to non-Jews by his constant attribution of things as belonging to the Jews (i.e., the Jew's Feast of Tabernacles; the Jew's Passover, etc.--John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 7:2; 11:55). There are many other proofs that the NT was written in Greek.

Now what if I told you that the modern Hebrew text and pronunciations Namers favor today are not even the same alphabet and pronunciations as the ancients used?

Square Hebrew or YHWH/JHWH -- Paleo-Hebrew or YHWH/JHVH

"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" (Ency. Brit. 1958 Ed. Vol 12. p. 996).

Today we can not know what the original vowels were, but Yahweh is as good a guess as we can make, though other spellings are often used" (Samuel A. Cartledge, A Conservative Introduction To The Old Testament, p. 51).

The noted scholar Heinisch points to the weakness of the evidence that … Yahweh is the pronunciation of He writes, 'The pronunciation of the divine name as 'Yahweh' rests upon Samaritan tradition as given by Theodoret (fifth century A.D.), also upon the evidence given by Clement of Alexandria' (Theology of the Old Testament, p.39)

I have shown you in times past the text on the Los Lunas Stone in New Mexico circa 1000 BC and told you that the experts say that it is 'Paleo-Hebrew.' In other words it is the language that predates the square text Hebrew that Ezra and the scribes used to rewrite the scrolls of the Old Testament. It more closely resembles the ancient Phoenician language – which is closely related to the ancient Greek.

It is fact that a few chapters of the books Ezra (ch. 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26) and Daniel (ch. 2:4 to 7:28), one verse in Jeremiah (ch. 10:11, and a word in Genesis (ch. 31:47) are written, not even in ancient paleo-Hebrew, but in Aramaic. Daniel and Ezra referred to the Creator in these chapters with the Aramaic word 'ELAH' seventy-eight different times. Aramaic is about as closely related to Hebrew as Spanish is to Portuguese. However, the differences between Aramaic and Hebrew are not those of dialect, and the two are regarded as two separate languages

So we understand that the earliest 'Hebrews' spoke paleo-Hebrew, not modern (or what's known as 'biblical Hebrew'), but we may never know if the patriarchs had the Torah's Paleo-Hebrew Aleph-Bet (alphabet), which bears little resemblance to the ancient hieroglyph alphabets of the Middle East.

The Modern Hebrew aleph-bet as used presently in Israel today and the standard Hebrew aleph-bet used in today's Hebrew Bible is, in fact, derived from the Aramaic alphabet. The square Aramaic-Style Hebrew was used by Israel at the time of their Babylonian captivity when the common language was Aramaic. The original pre-paleo-Hebrew aleph-bet is pictographic and quite similar to Egyptian Hieroglyphs and most assuredly contained diverse pronunciations from the Paleo-Hebrew and even more so from the later Hebrew.

Brethren! Look at some changes to the English language 'Ye' to 'you,' or even 'thee' to 'you.' In Old English, 'Jesus Christ' would be written as 'Iesus Chrift.' What is my point? Without exception, all languages evolve over time. James Barr, a leading philologist (language expert), claims that most languages lose/change 25% of their content/form every 400 years (The Philology of the Old Testament). Did you understand that? Greek and Hebrew are no exception.

The way in which Hebrew words were written and pronounced CHANGED over the centuries. The early Hebrew alphabet (Paleo-Hebrew) looked more like the other Semitic languages that evolved around the same time (Phoenician and Ugaritic). Over time it added new letters, dropped other letters, changed sounds, and changed the appearance of most others. This means that there is no universal, non-changing spelling or non-changing pronunciation of Hebrew that we can be sure of. How are we to spell the Messiah's name if it changed over the centuries when the language changed? Are you willing to condemn brethren on a guessed pronunciation?

Still unsure? Would you believe the Jews then? "The Hebrew language is very old: but even in the oldest portions of the Bible, written more than three thousand years ago, it is fully a literary vehicle. No language, however, can remain unchanged over so long a period. Hebrew was subject to change, though for almost half of its existence it was preserved only in writing...It is impossible to determine clear phonological rules for each type of accentuation since the situation in Hebrew is a result of a complicated development, not all of which is clear today." (Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 8, Hebrew Grammar, pp. 77, 95)

"Hebrew possessed guttural (aleph, he, ayin, het) and emphatic (tet, koph, tzade) consonants and long and short vowels. Most of the gutturals disappeared in Europe and in the traditional pronunciation of Samaritans. In Europe, 'Sh' and 's' were confused until c. 1100 A.D. The Yemenite pronunciation has continued the Babylonian tradition whereas the Ashkenazi and Sephardi pronunciations reflect the Tiberian and Palestinian pronunciations respectively. Each has numerous subvarieties…The Israel pronunciation has the vowel sounds of Sephardi Hebrew…the consonants of Ashkenazim…Modern Hebrew is a combination of all previous stages of Hebrew, though it has taken over from each only elements that suit it." (The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, article: Hebrew Language)

Concerning vocalization, it is also known that there were several different dialects of Hebrew. (Just like German dialects today, or as found in the different American dialects from North to South, from New York to California, from suburban town to inner-city ghettos. A distinct example is found in the black gangland subculture lingo which has developed into a distinct language with numerous new words, changed meanings of existing words, and altered pronunciations of some words to the point that some people can't even discern the rap as English.)

No one knows exactly how ancient Hebrew was pronounced. Paleo-Hebrew had vowels but the handed down Hebrew is a consonantal language, having no vowels. It was not until the Masoretes got involved in the 9th through 10th centuries that we find vowel points added to the Hebrew language. Borrowing from the Aramaic style, the Masoretes inserted small dots and dashes in order to protect the oral tradition of the vowels used to pronounce the words, and the accents of the words. The closest idea, then, of how to pronounce biblical Hebrew comes from those who lived some 2300 after the earliest Hebrew Scriptures and some 1300 years after the latest biblical Hebrew writings.

According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, article 'Alphabet', the Hebrews adopted the alphabetic script along with cultural values from the Canaanites during the eleventh and twelfth centuries B.C. They followed and used the Phoenician script until the ninth century B.C. when they began to develop their own national script

The realization of truth sobers one's mind. The fact is phonetic sounds or pronunciations, as well as written characters of language, change by an estimated 25% every 400 or so years. How can any rational spirit-led mind be deceived to think that the Hebrews spoke the exact same language from the time of Babel through the Egyptian captivity of over 400 years, up to and through the multiple invasions and captivities by the Assyrians, up to and through the Babylonian captivities, and also considering all the mingling with other peoples? The fact is the language changed and it is virtually impossible to know how words were pronounced back to the time of Moses. This is another revealing truth that crushes the imaginations of the Sacred Name proponents.

ONE NAME FOR SALVATION: PRONUNCIATION OR MEANING?

Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

The meaning of Acts 4:12 is that there is no other being in whom men can find salvation other than Jesus Christ. There is a fundamental assumption by Sacred Name advocates that we must place a great emphasis on the way the Messiah's name is spoken. This assumption is not truth. Upon what basis is this doctrine founded? Why should we stress something that even God Himself did not stress?

There is no place in the Bible where God stressed that His name, or the name of the Messiah must be pronounced in a certain way. He only declared that His name was 'ehyeh asher ehyeh' (I AM THAT I AM), and later, YHVH (or JHVH). YHWH is the third person singular form, most likely coming from the old Hebrew word hayah (He is), which has the meaning of "to be." The name for God was not a special name that was not part of the Hebrew vocabulary, but was actually words they were already familiar with. In other words, when God declared who He was through the use of the Hebrew language, He was trying to portray who He was, i.e. the "self-existing one." God only said "YHVH" because He was speaking to the Hebrews. There is nothing in the OT that would lead us to believe that if God would have spoken to any other non-Hebrew, that He still would have said YHWH was His name. God's name is not language-specific, nor is it dependent on the right pronunciation. There is no Scripture that can be shown to teach otherwise—such simply does not exist. No one can bring forth one that will.

What makes salvation effective, or prayer effective, is not the pronunciation of the Messiah's name, but FAITH in the Messiah. His name is not mystical. To teach such is kabbalism. There is nothing about His name that has the ability to save in and of itself. This is a misunderstanding of the ancients' concept of a name, particularly the Hebrew concept. To a Jew, one's name signifies their person, worth, character, reputation, or authority. EXAMPLE: When the Scripture says that the "name of the Lord is a strong tower" it does not mean that there is a tower shaped in the letters of Lord that the righteous run into, but that the person of YHWH is like a strong tower wherein lies safety. The focus is on the person, not the name.

Another example is found in Revelation where John said that there were "a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their clothes" (Revelation 3:4). John clearly had people in mind, not names. Because a person's name does represent them, however, when one uses that name, they carry the person's authority, character, and reputation along with it. The focus must always be seen on the person, and not the actual pronunciation of the name.

How did the bible use the concept of a "name'?"

Was Tabitha offended in Acts 9:36 when she is also referred to as Dorcas ??? Both mean "gazelle" so why would she be?

Was Peter (Petros) offended when Christ called him that and also called him Cephas (Joh 1:42)? "Both mean "rock" so why would he be offended?

The disciple Andrew did not seem to mind using the Hebrew title for (Actually the Aramaic form of the Heb. Mashiach) Messiah with the Greek in John 1:41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

Emmanuel: Matthew 1:21-25 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Now did they call Yeshua/Jesus 'Emmanuel' or 'Immanuel'? In what manner did they do so? So again we see the true meaning of the term 'name.' Immanuel means 'with us is God' and that is who Jesus was! The name signified the character or reputation of the individual. This did not mean a pronunciation of the name.

You are saved – not by pronouncing a name – but the righteous life works and sacrificial death our Savior and Master – The Lord Jesus Christ.

One who deeply studies Sacred Names literature rapidly becomes aware of one thing: Scriptures are misinterpreted and literalism is used excessively to force Scriptures beyond the limits of context in order to substantiate their doctrine. Most Sacred Names adherents are absolutely locked into the concept that the word 'name' can only mean one thing - the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. This is connected directly to Kabbalism or mystic Judaism – which dwell in the depths of Satanism.

MANY TO COME IN HIS NAME

Jesus says that many will come in His name (i.e., using His name) and deceive many (Matt. 24:4-5). The Savior came in His Father's name, not His own (Jn. 5:43). There are over 20,000 various church organizations that call themselves 'Christian', and they all differ from each other in their doctrine. How many have come in the names pronounced 'YHWH' or 'Yahshua' (sic)? Could 'Yahshua' then be His name? Or was He talking about something else? Should we only consider groups that pronounce the Name correctly to be these 'many that come in his name'? Ridiculous, isn't it?

If the phonetic sound of God the Father's name were extremely important to Him, it would also be important to his Son who is our Savior. But was this phonetic sound important to our Savior when He taught his Father's way to salvation?

In Mark 15:34-35, just before his death:

"Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calls Elias."

These verses in Mark show the prophetic fulfillment of Psalm 22:1-2:

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent."

Even the Lamsa Bible, translated from the ancient Aramaic Peshitta text, quotes Mark 15:34: "Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani." IF one must use only the proper phonetic sound of the proper name when addressing the Supreme Sovereign of all that exists THEN our Savior used the WRONG NAME during the most critical moment of his life. These words, 'Eli, Eli, shabakthani,' are not even Hebrew, but are of Chaldean-derived Aramaic.

SALVATION BY WORKS OR BY GRACE?

One name by which men may be saved. The whole point of Acts 4:10-12 is not that a name saves anyone. The point is that salvation can only be obtained through the sacrifice, authority, and office of the Savior.

A commonly taught doctrine of "sacred nam-ism," is that we are required to address the Father by the tetragrammaton, and not by titles. Was this the practice and teaching of Messiah?

Matt 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

It is by this title of endearment and relationship ("Father") that Messiah taught, both by word and example, that we should address His God and our God---the Father in Heaven. In His most trying moments, nearing the time of His trial and crucifixion, He cried out to the Father in prayer. Did He call Him 'Yahweh' then? No.

Mark 14:36 And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me: nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.

Read also Jesus' longest recorded prayer to the Father (John 17) and find wherein He never addressed the Father as "Yahweh." He continually called Him "Father." As we previously showed, even when He was drawing His final breaths of life, did He not exclaim "Yahweh," but rather: "Eli, Eli..." = My God, My God.

Do you know a more perfect way than the Messiah?

Many who hold the "sacred name" doctrine also say that we must call the Son "Yeshua," Yahshua," or some other such Hebrew (or psuedo-Hebrew) term. What I find interesting is that although I can find reference to His disciples addressing Him as "Lord," "Master," "Rabboni," (as well as "the Christ, the Son of the living God") I see no such place that any one of them is recorded as addressing Him by His "proper name"

Granted, the demon-possessed men, as well as a few blind and leprous, are recorded as having addressed Him as "Jesus, Son of David," or "Jesus, Son of God," but if it was required of us to use His proper name and not a title, why do we not find His disciples following such?

John 13:13 Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Let us conclude this lengthy subject and take it in prayer to the Father.

Forgiveness of sin is not an act of man, it is an act of God. A name cannot save us. It is the Savior who saves us. It is the result of his action, not ours. Salvation does not come to humans by the act of pronouncing a name or making a phonetic sound. If knowing and using the Savior's name could get us salvation, it would come by the works of people, not by the grace of God through the sacrifice of the Savior. From Sacred Names literature, it is apparent that they believe salvation is gained by works (i.e., the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton). It is the result of what they do, not what God is doing through the Savior. This assumption shows a lack of faith in the grace of God the Father and the power of his Son's sacrifice, which allows us to gain salvation without works.

This document is by no means meant as a "final authority," nor is it completely in-depth. It is meant as a basic background to get you started. If it really fascinates you, check deeper on your own.

To close, there is a need to reiterate our love and devotion to you as brother and sister in Christ. Have your hearts been seared to the point that you do not remember the things you have witnessed? Were all the healings you heard of and witnessed all done by the power of the 'name' of a false god? [identity omitted], You worshipped Jesus Christ with us when you were healed of tumors. Was your healing (and you were indeed healed by miracle) by the power of a false god? Is it true that since renouncing the name in which you were anointed your body has again been stricken?

Have you had any conversion since your original baptism 'in the name of Jesus?' Have you been all these years worshipping a false god? Or are you being deceived by this present time by the seducing doctrines of men? Could the name of a false god have any converting effect on you? To renounce Jesus with a 'salvation by pronunciation of a name' doctrine is to also claim that you have not had a shred of conversion in your entire 'religious walk.'

Much time, research, and prayer has been spent in this letter. The brethren of the assembly have all contributed to bring you this message. There is nothing for anyone in the assembly to gain by telling you anything false. You started your conversion in the spirit … now you are deceived into thinking your salvation is by works. Oh, you will not admit it in those words, but the matter is none-the-less true. I tell you the Father wants you to love Him and others. I suspect your first reaction to this letter may be (or already has been) carnal, but please persevere beyond that to be willing to receive the truth.

ITS OKAY TO USE NAMES: Use what names you like, but do not distance yourself from Him by acting improperly, as if you 'have one up' on other believers. Do not place yourself in the position of the Judge, for you will be usurping a position that does not belong to you. Please recall that the measure you use to judge others will be used to judge you (Matt 7:1,2). If you condemn to Gehenna those who do not refer to our Father in the 'proper' Hebrew term, consider what judgment awaits you since no one today actually knows the 'proper' 'Hebrew' pronunciation, nor does the Word of God teach such Kabbalistic doctrine. This doctrine is of men—not of God—and has caused many little ones to stumble. Recall also what Messiah said of those who would cause His little ones to stumble (Matt 18:6-10). Show you are His by acting in love, gentleness, and peace always.

James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

[end excerpt of truthontheweb.org letter]

Authored by Kenneth M. Hoeck & Brian C. Hoeck

?2008 Truth On The Web Ministries: All the articles originated by Kenneth M. Hoeck and/or Brian C. Hoeck may be freely distributed or mirrored as long as presented in their entirety (including this statement), attributed to Truth on The Web, and proper author credit given.

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