Finding The Name Of The Father
The name of God, our Father was originally written in four Hebrew letters called the tetragrammaton. The English equivalent of each letter is YHWH or in some literature YHVH. This must be the name referred to by the 3rd Commandment (Exodus 20:7) saying: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.” It is understandable that this name is very important not only to God but, most of all, for us in the sense that forgetting or not knowing that name means drawing away from the source of life as we have stressed in our previous articles. In fact, it is the key to our salvation (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21). Unfortunately, time has actually erased the true name of God from the memory of most of us including me. It looks like we have lost the key to our salvation.
What Happened To The Name Of The Father?
It can be noted in the preceding paragraph that even the English version specifically the third letter has changed from W to V. The pictograph of the individual letters had changed through the early, the middle, and the late Ancient Semitic/Hebrew alphabet. The name of the letters underwent changes too except for the second and and the last letter which is called Hey until now. The first letter is called Yud or Yod now but called Yad in ancient times. The third letter was named Waw but now it is Vav. These changes in the form of Hebrew speech and writing contributed much in the loss of the original sound of how the name should be uttered.
Another factor that contributed to the oblivion of the pronunciation is the tradition of limiting the utterance of the name within the inner circle of the Jews in era B.C. and the Christians in A. D. The intent was to protect the name from God haters who blaspheme or profane it. The name became confined to prayer and spiritual study. Later on, substitute names were used even in the reading of the scriptures. The practice was adopted in the translation to other languages like Greek, Latin, and English that we have now.
The four-letter name has been replaced by the word LORD in our Bible. Each time we see “the LORD” in the Bible, we can only think that the original name “YHWH” was there in the original scripture. As we continue reading the Bible, it becomes clear that the true name of God was known to the Jews and the early Christians. In fact the name was used for remission of sins in baptism, and for healing the sick instantly. This name of YHWH was given by His Son to the early Christians (John 17:11, John 17:12, John 17:26). It is even possible that there are people who still know the name these days.
Since there have been many changes in the writings and speech of the Hebrew language, the natural direction of research and study is backward to the earliest form of writing and speech. The alphabet of the early ancient Hebrew language was written in a form called pictograph where the letters convey meanings through their pictorial resemblance to a physical object. The first letter of the Father’s name Y is equivalent to the letter Yad in ancient Hebrew alphabet. The pictograph looks like the right arm of a man standing and facing you. The arm is bent half way with the forearm parallel to the ground and it conveys the meaning of: work, throw and worship.
The second letter H is equivalent to the letter Hey which was drawn like a man facing you with his upper arm raised parallel to the ground, the forearm perpendicular to the ground, and the tip of the fingers is at the forehead level. The rest of the body is not drawn straightly in such a way that the figure looks like a spirit or apparition to me. The letter Hey conveys: look, reveal, and breath.
The third letter W is equivalent to the Hebrew letter Waw and is drawn like a tent peg. The pictograph looks like a wood peg where the rope of the tent in ancient time is fastened. It conveys the meaning: add, secure, and hook. Let us replace the letters Yad, Hey, Waw, Hey with their respective meanings. Let us choose for example worship for Yad, reveal for Hey, secure for Waw, and breath for the last letter Hey. The result is: worship, reveal, secure and breath. That means that when we worship the Father, He will reveal Himself to us and we will secure our breath.
So, the four letters of the name are still there and we are quite sure of the accuracy. The problem is the pronunciation. How can we call the name in times of need? Studies reveal that in ancient times, when the letter Yad preceded the letter Hey, the combination was usually pronounced as Yah. It is, therefore, most probable that the first two letters of the name of the Father were pronounced as Yah. In fact, Yah was frequently used to refer to God. This could be where the name Yahweh got its first syllable.
Studies strongly suggest that the name of the Father was originally pronounced in three syllables with the second letter Hay being pronounced as “Hu” or “Ho”. This could be where another name for God Jehovah got its second syllable. The first syllable which was originally Yah, later on sounded like Yeh and then the Y was later on replaced by J during translation into Latin. The last syllable “vah” is the result of the later variation of “W” into “V” that we previously cited. Where did the name Yahweh get its last syllable? The sound of the last syllable here is like changing the sound at the end of a noun into "ee" to express ownership or belonging. Example is Eloah means God. By changing the sound of Eloah at the end into Eloi, it means "my Eloah" or my God as in Mark 15:34. Yahweh, therefore, means "my YaHuWaH."
This means that the original pronunciation of the name YHWH was Yahuwah, and that is exactly the name I call in times of need. If you have problems with that, I just would like to ask you not to blaspheme it or use it in vain to be sure. Please be careful. Peace be with you.