Names of God: YHWH


Last week we spent time with the mighty Elohim, this week we will seek Him as eternal YHWH.  I’m going to begin with addressing a debate surrounding this name.  Because the Hebrew language has changed so much over the years, there are some words in the ancient Hebrew that scholars are uncertain of how to pronounce.  YHWH is one of them.  There are two schools of thought on how it should be pronounced: the first (my preference) is Yahweh “yah-way”, and the second is Jehovah “J-uh-hoe-va”.  For this post and for following posts, I’m going to simply write “YHWH” and you can pronounce it however you deem proper.

YHWH first appears in the Bible in Genesis 2, however this name was not actually given to His people until Exodus 3 when He spoke to Moses from the burning bush.  YHWH is considered the personal name for God and is the most used name to refer to Him.  This name is considered so holy by the Jewish people that they long ago ceased using it for fear of breaking the third commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Ex. 20:7 ESV).

The name is built upon the Hebrew for “I am”.  When God says “I am”, He means He exists, in and of Himself.  He doesn’t rely on a creator or ruler.  He is self-sustaining and self-governing.

It means “eternal” or “self-existing”.  This means that God was not created.  He always existed and always will.  Google defines “eternal” as “lasting or existing forever; without end or beginning”.

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'” – Rev. 1:8

He was and is and is still to come. Forever.

YHWH is everlasting.

“Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” – Psalm 90:2 ESV



And it is only the Eternal who can promise us eternal life:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” – John 5:24 ESV

It is because of this that we can sing with the angels “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!“(Rev. 4:8 ESV).


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