The Name Yahweh
By Rev. Dr. Rick Chesher
I had a phone call from a person recently that left a message on my phone telling me I ought to stop using the name of Yahweh. This person went on to tell me that only cults and Jewish people use other names for God and if I was a mainstream denomination I should not be using that name. I found this interesting and yet somewhat sad. Sad because we have done such a poor job of teaching in the church today that leads people to believe it is a foreign name.
There has been a lot of effort in the recent years to go back and correctly translate God’s name, and I am very proud to say that the Southern Baptist have come up with a translation that has worked toward that end. The Bible specifically, the Old Testament was not written in English, but in Hebrew and in Aramaic. These two languages do not translate word for word with English so they have chosen the best word they can and used that word to translate from Hebrew to English.
The name God is not necessarily talking about the one and only true God, in fact, the word god is really Elohim in the Hebrew and by its self can be used to refer to any god. We find Yahweh using this name to identify Himself in Exodus 3:15, “God also said to Moses, Say to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered.” He tells them this “I am Yahweh your Elohim, and the English would say “I am Yahweh your God.”
What we see in this verse is Yahweh identifying Himself as Yahweh the Elohim of their fathers, and He tells them that this is the name He wants to be known as forever. Now some may say well that is for the Jews, but this is not the first place the name Yahweh appears. In fact some of you may be really surprised to find out where this name first appears in Scripture.
The first place we see the name of Yahweh appear is in Genesis 2:4, in the English it says, “These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation at the time that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” In the Hebrew “Lord God” would be Yahweh Elohim. So this isn’t a name just given to Israel but was in fact His name from the beginning, in fact, Adam and Eve would have known Him by the name of Yahweh. The Holman Christian Standard Bible, copyright 2010 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee has made some of these corrections. Holman, by the way, is owned by the Southern Baptist a main stream denomination. If you would like to study this more please contact us at Cornerstone Baptist Church and we would be honored to help you find these things.