Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Jehovah Word Study, by John.


The word, “Jehovah,” has been used to designate the name of God for many, many years, but it is not a Biblical word at all. It is a combination of two Biblical words joined together by translators. The ancient Hebrew language did not have vowels. Their alphabet letters “ are called radicals instead of consonants.” Here is an English sentence written without vowels. Try to decipher it: bht n nn t th str. It is, “I bought an onion at the store.”

Hebrew became very hard for native Israelites to pronounce as the Aramaic language began to be used extensively in the Promised Land. We believe Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic. We know most of Israel did after the captivity and during the occupation by Rome.

A group of extremely religious scholars called Masoretes was concerned because Hebrew was not being used among most Jews. Their name came from the word “masorah” which means “tradition.” Hebrew was in danger of being forgotten, and these scribes intended to preserve their tradition. They carefully compiled the Scripture texts including the marginal notes made by other scribes of the past. They began their work about the second century.

Like all Jews, the Masoretes believed a person who added to or subtracted from God’s word would immediately fall under the wrath of God. Revelation 22:18,19 says, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” The Masoretes used the area above and below the line of print to provide guides to pronunciation. The Hebrew text we use today contains those markings. Without them we would have a terrible time determining the correct translation.

That prepares us to see that the Masoretes are responsible for readers today using the word, “Jehovah.” It is a combination of YAHVEH and the vowel sounds of ADONAI. I am printing both words below to demonstrate what the Masoretes did.
YHWH or YHVH ADONAI >>> YaHoVaH. YHVH was also pronounced in some instances as Elohim.

The vowels of adonai placed below the radicals of YHWH produce the sound of our word “Jehovah” to English speaking people. When the Jews saw YHVH with ADONAI vowels, they did not say, “Jehovah.” They said, ADONAI! If they saw it with the vowels of Elohim, they pronounced it as Elohim, not Jehovah. The earliest translators did not have any document that dated back beyond about 1000 A.D. That meant they were looking at the Masoretes’ vowel markings, and they are the ones who translated YHVH as “Jehovah.” At that time they knew nothing of what the Israelites said when they saw it.

We all acknowledge that God is our Heavenly Father. We believe the New Testament, and we stand opposed to any who disregard it. To disregard the New Testament also means ignoring the thousands of prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. It is plain that Jesus was and is the Messiah. If there you have any doubt about it, study of the Old Testament prophecies. Below are several that should whet your appetite to look for more.

Genesis 3:14,15. God spoke to the serpent and in the latter part of verse 15 said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This is the first reference to the coming Messiah sent by God the Father to save the world. It also tells us that He will be virgin born and that He will conquer Satan.

Isaiah 53:1-12. According to this chapter, Jesus was not a winsome looking man. At best, He was ordinary in appearance. He was despised and rejected by human beings. He was a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. People considered Him condemned and afflicted by God, but the prophet knew those afflictions were placed on Him for our salvation. Jesus went to the cross just as a lamb is led to slaughter without a sound of complaint. He died for our transgressions. He was given a grave with wicked people, a rich man’s grave. He was innocent, but He took our sins on Himself. Even the prophets did not have a full knowledge of eternal life, but there is an intimation of Christ becoming the first-fruit of eternal life in the latter part of the chapter. In verse 10 these words appear, “He will see his offspring and prolong his days.” Jesus arose from the dead, and He is now in the presence of His Father making intercession for us according to I John 2: 1, “We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”

In conclusion, we believe in the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe they are One God! This belief seems mathematically impossible to many people, but it isn’t. For instance, I have one telephone number. It is made up of a triple digit area code, a triple digit prefix and a final four digits. Altogether, it is one number. Why is it so hard to believe that we have one God Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

In John 10:27-30 Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” It is impossible to separate the Father and the Son in this passage. They are, as stated in verse 30, One!

Jesus in John 16:7,13 said, “I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.... When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” The term translated “Counselor” is “Paraclete.” It literally means “One called to stand alongside of.” Jesus in John 14:6 said, that He is the way, the truth and the life. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus and of God. That shows that He is also God.

We cannot conceive of God in three persons in our minds without equating it with our own families, but we carry that too far when we see God as being a separate Father, Son and Spirit. By faith, we can leap across that chasm to believe they are One God.


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