A lot of people have asked me this question so I thought that I would answer it here. I am very particular in what I use and I try to use only the Hebrew names for my L-RD, my Saviour, and the Holy Spirit. To start the discussion off, you can see that I hyphenate the word L-RD. This is also true when I write the word G-D. I write these words like this as a sign of respect and also to follow the Third Commandment.

"Thou shalt not take the name of the L-RD thy G-D in vain; for the L-RD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain" .
Exodus 20:7

It is a feeling amongst Jews and Jewish Believers that when we write or type out these words on any medium (whether being on paper or digitally on a screen) that medium becomes holy. To throw that piece of paper out or delete the page on the screen would be sacrilege.

In the original Hebrew there were no vowels, and there was no way used to differenciate between upper and lower case (capital and small letters). Hellenistic Christians who came out of being Hellenistic/ Grecian Jews (ones who didn't live in the Palestine area in Judea and Galilee but in other parts of the Roman Empire) choose to mark the respect by inserting the vowel, and capitalizing the first letter, neither of which are in the original. Jewish people mark the respect by capitalizing the first letter (which is not in the original), and indicating the vowel is not there in the original. One extra thing about this method is that if G-D is neverwritten in full, no-one can deface the word! I choose to only use capital letters to show respect.

G-D's personal name is spelt "Yod Heh Vav Heh" in the Hebrew. This approximates to "Y H V H". The name Y-H-V-H was the four-letter name given to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). Each letter means something special. G-D is not hiding Himself, but for many, His name is full of secrets.

The vowels were not written until about ninth century C.E. They were done most likely by the Masorites who lived and worked between fifth and tenth centuries CE. The Masorites were a group of rabbis who compiled a system of critical notes on the external form of the Biblical text, and who effectivly determined the precise text of the Bible in the Jewish community.

G-D's personal name was only spoken out loud one time during a year. This occured on Yom Kippur (the Jewish High Holy Day of Atonement and Repentence). It was spoken in the temple on Yom Kippur after the High Priest had entered the Holy of Holies.

"Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai Echad"
(Hear, O' Israel: The L-RD (is) our G-D, The L-RD is one)

Deuteronomy 6:4

Any one who was present in the temple and heard the name spoken out loud would fall prone and recite the second phrase of the Shema, "Blessed be His name (HaShem) whose glorious kingdom shall be for ever and ever." During the Jewish captivity in Babylonian, The L-RD's personal Name was never spoken of at all since there was no access to the temple. Upon return to Jerusalem 70 years later, no-one was sure how to pronounce His name, so the word Adonai was substituted, which means 'L-RD'. Alternatively haShem was used which means 'the Name', especially when the word Adonai immediately preceded G-D's personal name.

When the vowel points were added, over a thousand years later, the vowels were not actually known. The vowels for Adonai were used instead. In England at about that time, there was a great persecution of the Jews, and they were driven out of the country, killed, or forced to abandon Judaism. When the English versions of the Bible were becoming popular (Wycliffe, Tyndale et al.) there was no significant Jewish presence to speak of in England. Everybody assumed that G-D's personal Name had the vowels of Adonai in it. It would be like taking the consonants of your first name and using the vowels of your last name.

Some people still believe that " Y H V H" are the correct consonants. Others feel that "Y H W H" or "J H V H" are the right consonant sequences. However it is likely that "Y H V H" might not the right consonants after all, and no-one can be sure. The exact pronunciation is in question. To avoid being disrespectful by using a nonsense word to refer to G-D, most Jewish people (including myself) will not refer to Him as Jehovah (which was first used in the King James Bible) or Yahweh (the English equivalent of this nonsense word which I am sorry to say most Bible scholars prefer).

Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used a form like Yahweh. The first person noted in history to come up with the word Jehovah was a Spanish Catholic monk, Raymundo Martini. In 1278, he wrote the Latin work PUGIO FIDEI (Dagger of faith). In it, he spelled the name of G-D out as being 'Yohoua'. Later printings of this work, dated some centuries later, used the spelling 'JEHOVA'. Porchetus de Salvaticis in 1303 completed a work entitled VICTORIA PORCHETI AVERSUS IMPIOS HEBRAEOS (Porchetus' Victory Against the Ungodly Hebrews). He spells GD's name 'IOHOUAH', 'IOHOUA' and 'IHOUAH". Petrus Galatinus, a Catholic priest born in the late 1400's, published a work in 1518 entitled DE ARCANIS CATHOLICAE VERITATIS (Concerning Secrets of the Universal Truth) in which he spelled G-D's name 'IEHOUA'. Gallatin was the confessor of Pope Leo X.

The first converts to the Savior were Jews, including the bishops or leaders of the assemblies. As more gentile converts were accepted, the assembly took on a gentile flavor with gentile customs and practices. These gentiles generally did not understand Hebrew. In fact, at the time of Constantine (between 312 and 333 A.D.) there was a most decided anti-Jewish bias and for the most part these gentile converts wanted nothing to do with anything Jewish. A separation soon developed between "Jewish Believers" and "Gentile Catholics." When the Old Covenant was translated into Greek (known as the Septuagint)it became the standard text for the early assembly, now overwhelmed by pagan converts, which by then spoke Latin or Greek. Even though the Septuagint was written in Greek, the Sacred Name (Tetragrammaton)was first written into the text in gold Hebrew letters. Being ignorant of Hebrew, the readers of the Greek text mistakenly pronounced the Hebrew Tetragrammaton "Pipi," as the Greek pi, " "resembled the Hebrew he The Latin translations became standard for the Roman church and the Latin letters IHVH appeared for the Hebrew Tetragrammaton. At that time the vowel I was equivalent to the Y. The V had the sound of W, "oo." The capital 'I' soon had a tail added, a modification popularized by Dutch printers, so that the Tetragrammaton began to appear as JHVH. Although it looked like our J, the Latin letter J was pronounced as the letter i in police or machine.

"Yah" was changed to "Jeh" as the "J" developed and the "a" was replaced with "e" to hide the name. The suffix "hovah" is No. 1943 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary and has the meaning of "ruin: mischief." It is another form of No. 1942, havvah, which is translated "calamity, iniquity, mischief, mischievous (thing), naughtiness, naughty, noisome, perverse thing, substance, very wickedness." Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius says of No. 1943, hovah: "ruin, disaster". For in calling upon this hybrid name we are in actuality beseeching a mighty one whose name carries the meaning, "The One Who creates ruin, creates mischief, creates calamity, creates iniquity, creates naughtiness, creates perverse things,creates very wickedness."

The mistaken name Jehovah is said to have been given us about 1518 by Peter Gallatin who was confessor to Pope Leo X. Gallatin published a work entitled DE ARCANIS CATHOLICAE VERITATIS (Concerning Secrets of the Universal Truth) in which he spelled G-D's name IEHOUA. While transliterating the Bible into Latin for the Pope, wrote the Name out as it appeared in his texts, with the consonants of YHVH and the vowels of Adonai, and came up with the word JeHoVaH, and the name stuck. Some regard the idea of referring to the Almighty One by a nonsense word as blasphemous, and there is a good case for viewing things this way. To get back to the concept of not using the L-RD's name in vain, using a hyphenation also prevents one making G-Dís name common in language.

The name "Jehovah" first appeared in an English BIBLE in 1530, when William Tyndale published a translation of the Chumash (the first five books of the Bible). In this, he included the name of G-D, usually spelled IEHOUAH, in several verses (Genesis 15:2; Exodus 6:3; 15:3; 17:6; 23:17; 33:19; 34:23; Deuteronomy 3:24. Tyndale also included G-D's name in Ezekiel 18:23 and 36:23 in his translations that were added at the end of THE NEW TESTAMENT, Antwerp, 1534), and in a note in this editon he wrote: "Iehovah is G-D's name... moreover as oft as thou seist LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing) is is in Hebrew Iehovah." (Please note as I told you previously, there was no "J" in English at this time; the J is a product of a stylized I; thus giving us the current Jehovah rather than the Old English Iehovah. The "u" used in the above names is also a reminder that there was no "v" in Old English, as you can read David in the original King James version was written "Dauid".)"

In 1534 Martin Luther published his complete translation of the Bible in German, based on the original languages. While he used the German "Herr" (Lord or Sir) for the Tetragrammaton, in a sermon which he delivered in 1526 on Jeremiah 23:1-8, he said, "The name Jehovah, Lord, belongs exclusively to the true G-D."

Subsequently, Jehovah was used not only in the "Authorized" King James version of 1611, but the Spanish VALERA version of 1602, the Portugese ALMEIDA version of 1681, the German ELBERFELDER version of 1871, and the American Standard Version of 1901.

The modern Messianic Movement, led by believing Jews, knows full well that referring to the Jewish Messiah as Jesus Christ will get you nowhere in the Jewish community. They have used the name Yeshua ((Y'shua)(the Hebrew name for Jesus)) and referred to Him strictly as Messiah from the Hebrew "Meshiach" to avoid Christ from the Greek derivation "Christos." Some Messianic believers have abandoned the name Jesus (the Greek transliteration) and prefer a strictly Hebrew pronunciation. However, there is even some debate over whether His name is "Yeshua" or "Yahshua." I prefer Y'shua or better yet Y'SHUA. The problem is whether you directly translate a word or transliterate it.

A transliteration is a spelling to make you sound the word. It is an attempt of translation. A translation is the use of another word in another language that means the same thing. The King James Bible wanted to give the phonetic sound to the name of Jesus, so in the story of Lukeís Gospel they transliterated the name that the angel is heard to say to Mary...

"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS."

In Old English, which was used in the King James Bible, the "J" sound was a "Y" sound. In an attempt to get English readers to say "Yeshua," they transliterated it as Joshua. However, Joshua is actually another Hebrew name. The key to this is in the pronounciation of the Hebrew syllables and which syllable is stressed more. "YESH-ua" is translated as Joshua while "Ye-SHU-a" is translated as Jesus. Then, the Christian scholars learned of their transliteration mistake and they went back to use the Greek transliteration which was even worse than Joshua. The Greek text had tried to do the same thing and tried to phonetically sound the name with "Iesous." Then, Christian scholars translated the Greek Iesous into Jesus so they have just made a loop in their translation. I have a bit of a problem with Jesus also because there was a reference in the Gospels that people thought that "Y'SHUA" was the Greek god Zeus incarnate (came to Earth in the flesh). "Sous" could be translated as "Zeus".

Scholars striving for the Hebrew roots in all this found the name Joshua in the KJV and translated it back to the Hebrew Yehoshua. The name Yehoshua (Joshua) means G-D is Salvation; whereas, Yeshua is just Salvation. Mary was told to name her son "Salvation" for He would save His people. Simeon, the old man in the temple waiting for the Messiah, held up Yeshua and said,

"Mine eyes have seen the Salvation of Israel."
Luke 2:30

I hope that this discussion helps you some. Here is a list of Hebrew names that I use and their English translation.

Adonai - the L-RD
Adonai Echad - the L-RD is one
Adonai HaElyon - the L-RD Most High
Adonai Shalom - the L-RD of Peace
Adonai Tzidkeynu - the L-RD our Righteousness
Adonai Tzvaot - the L-RD of Hosts
Adonai Yeshuateynu - The L-RD our Salvation
Adonai Yeera - the L-RD our Provider
Avinu Malkeynu - Our Father and Our King
Baruch HaShem - Bless the Name (of G-D)
Elohim - "G-D"
El Elyon - Most High (Holy) G-D
El Gibbor - Mighty G-D
El Olam - Everlasting G-D
El Shaddai - Almighty G-D
HaShem - "G-D"

'Chaim - The Life
Goel - Redeemer
H'Ra'ah Tov - The Good Shepherd
H'Ra'ah Gibbor - The Great Shepherd
h'Ra'ah Y'israel - Shepherd of Israel
Kodesh Y'Israel - The Holy One of Israel
Lechem Chaim - Bread of Life
Mashiach/Moshiach - Messiah/ Christ
Melech Melechim - King of Kings
Melech Yehudim - King of the Jews
Meshia - Deliverer
Sar Shalom - Prince of Peace
Y'shua haMashiach - Jesus Christ
Y'shua haMashiach hu Adonai - L-RD Jesus Christ

Ruach haKodesh - Holy Spirit


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