What Is The True Name Of God – My oldest son’s best friend recently stayed with us. After a long, fun night, it was bedtime for everyone. As usual, I prayed with all the boys before the lights went out. Usually it’s not a big deal, but this time we had a guest and he was Jewish, so I let him pray first. He said everything in Hebrew (which I thought was great) and although I didn’t understand what he was saying, I heard him use the name Adonai.
We talked for a moment about Adonai and Jesus and how there are several names for God, such as Jehovah.
What Is The True Name Of God
“What is the question?” he asked. It confused me. Why does he not know the Lord’s name? He is Jewish, I thought. I quickly unpacked it, because it turns out, people have changed God’s name many times throughout history. It all depends on when and where you were born.
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Let’s go back in time and find out what God’s original names are, how they changed, and what we should call him.
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and asked him to save the Hebrews in Exodus 3, Moses replied:
“Yes, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘I am sent to you by the God of your fathers,’ and they say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?’ “
God declares in response to Moses at the beginning, “I am who I am… So you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am I who have been sent to you.’ For modern readers, this is often our first indication of how God refers to Himself personally. But there is an older name that many Hebrews already knew at that time.
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Long before Moses, the Hebrews called God “God” from the time of Noah’s flood and continued the tribe of Levi to which Moses belonged. Even Moses’ mother’s name was based on the Lord’s name. This name may or may not have a direct meaning and was simply a way of referring to a divine being.
However, the name God was eventually deemed too personal for the Creator of the universe to use. So after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon, they decided to change their name. Depending on where you live at the time, you may call God “Adonai” or “Elohim.”
Adonai is the plural form of Adon, meaning “lord, lord, master, owner, or father.” In Tanakh, however, Edwin can refer to men, angels, or the God of Israel. But since we’re talking about God, He’s referred to in the plural form (who’s getting the Trinity sign next to me here?). And because Adonai is plural, the name is best translated with more emphasis on God’s majesty and sovereignty.
When the Greeks later translated the Hebrew Scriptures by creating the Septuagint, they replaced Adonai with Kyrios, which means “Lord.”
The Real Name Of God
From the 6th to the 10th century, a group of translators called the Masorites set out to reproduce the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. It was this group that decided to drop the heads in God (because it is too sacred to speak) and simply say YHWH.
No one could pronounce just one consonant, and they didn’t want to risk saying God by accident, so they simply called God Adonai, which means “my Lord.” The Jewish community still uses Adonai to this day, as evidenced by my son’s friend.
While Adonai gained popularity in Israel, another name for God arose when Israel spread throughout the Mediterranean region. They called him Elohim, which is another way of saying God without being too personal or crossing any sacred lines.
Like Adonai, Elohim is the plural for “God” or “god,” but it is usually used in the singular form. For other grammar geeks like me, it’s interesting to note that it usually accompanies the article.
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God” (please, no Ohio State jokes here, haha).
Adonai is not the only name for God that originates from Jehovah. Jehovah is a name that came about using something called the Tetragrammaton, which means “four letters.” Note that Yahu eventually changed to YHWH in Tanakh, but this did not help a group of Latin translators. They cannot translate YHWH because the letter Y does not exist in Latin.
These Latin-speaking Christian scholars solved the problem by replacing the letter Y in Yahweh with an I or the letter J (which can sometimes be pronounced like an I). So now we have YHWH.
Again, no one could pronounce a word that was only consonants, so they sounded like JeHoWaH. As a result, people in many Latin-speaking countries, as well as many others, refer to God as Jehovah today.
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Interestingly, only the King James Version of the Bible uses Jehovah in its text. This may be an indication that either more people simply call God “God” or that those who use the name Jehovah only know the King James Version. I don’t know the answer, but the Lord’s name is still used as a praise to remember his character. In the Bible he is:
We learned that some people call God Adonai, Elohim, and/or Jehovah, all of which are expressions of respect. But are any of them what God wants us to say? You can, but you have several names to choose from.
The doctrine of our Lord is to be true to the principles of our nature and benevolence… There is much controversy about the real name of God and its meaning. Over the years, this has been one of the most popular questions sent by email:
“How do you know that God’s name means ‘I will be’ instead of ‘I’? I’ve never heard that before.”
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An interlinear Bible shows one line of Hebrew (written from right to left) followed by one line of English. Here is page 151 from the NIV (New International Version) Interlinear Hebrew-English Bible pictured above:
Now this may seem very foreign and strange to you, but let’s relax and look at it for a moment. This is the Hebrew and English for the following passage (NIV):
Exodus 3:12 And God said: “I will be with you, and this will be a sign for you that I have sent: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” “
Exodus 3:13 Moses said to God, “Then I will go to the Israelites and tell them that the God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they asked me, “What is his name?” ? ?”
What Is The Real Name Of God?
Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses: “I am who I am, this is what you will say to the Israelites that I have sent you.”
Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses: “Say to Israel: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – I have sent you.” This is my name forever, a name that I will remember for generations.
Let’s look at the page above, starting with white #1. This is Exodus 3:12. We see the Hebrew
, which from right to left are A (Aleph), H (Hey), Y (Yod) H (Hey). And right below that we see that the NIV translates it correctly “I will be.”
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Just to name a few. Whenever “ahiah” appears throughout the Bible, the NIV translates it as “I will be,” except in Ex 3:14 (white #2 above), where the same Hebrew
This is very interesting. This shows that translators’ biases prevent them from doing 100% correct work. But they are not deceitful people, so they are forced by honesty to leave something behind in white #6: “Or, I will be what I will be.”
Ahyh, meaning “I will.” This is the 1st person infinitive of the verb To Be. It is translated as “I will be” everywhere in the Bible by the NIV translators, except in Exodus 3:14, where the correct translation “I will be” is referred to as a side note.
So the wise person must ask what exactly is the problem? What makes people nervous about “I’ll Be”?
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White #3: We see the Tetragrammaton, the “4-letter name”, Yahweh, used throughout the Bible as God’s personal name. “I will” is used only in 3:14. after that,
On the side, in white #4, I’ve spelled out the vertical so you can check and make sure I’m not making it up.
However, there is another difference. Although the Interlinear Bible correctly translates it as “God,” the regular NIV Bible translates it as “Lord.” Ugggghhh!
So, you see, the layers (I don’t want to use that word
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