The Sacred Name Movement

Sacred Name of the Father
Sacred Name of the Father

The Sacred Name Movement has been around for a while now and you will easily hear or see who they are, either in their sermons or presentations. They generally replace God with YHWH (assuming pronounced as ‘Yah-way’ or ‘Yah-Veh?) and Jesus with Yeshua, or Jehovah. The Logic goes that the original names of “God” and “Jesus” have been altered by satanic influences and now we are worshiping pagan gods unknowingly by using their names.

The only proper names that we are to be using in worship are YHWH, Yah, Yeshua or Yeshu or some variant. YHWH in the Hebrew language is the personal name of the Creator God and no other heathen gods have been called by that name. The word Jehovah is just a miss pronunciation of the word YHWH.

It is important to note that all error is associated with or has some truth to it or else it would not have credibility at all. The name YHWH  is the personal name of God given to His chosen nation of Israel. It expresses an important attribute of God – that God is the self-existing one, that there is no other being that self-exists and that there is a difference between the Creator and the created. All of these attributes are contained in one name “YHWH”. Saying YHWH or Yesua isn’t a problem and can be used for emphasis or even some research.

Origins of the Sacred Name Movement
Origins of the Sacred Name Movement

Now the problem or error is that the Sacred Name movement says that we should only use the name YHWH for God or Yeshua for Jesus, as well as other derivatives of these names. They go as far in saying that if we do use these anglo-sized names “God” or “Jesus”, we are blaspheming the Word of God and therefore we are no longer in the position of being saved and cannot be sealed with the seal of God.

The following are issues related to this belief:

1 – The first and obvious problem with this understanding is that there is not one single command in the Bible that says we cannot transliterate (represent (letters or words) in the corresponding characters of another alphabet, sound for sound) the name of God. Now there are commandments to keep the Sabbath Holy, Love your neighbour, turn the other cheek. If there was such a life or death need to keep these names as they were expressed in the Hebrew language, why is there no command especially if this is a salvational issue? This is a huge flaw for the Sacred Name Movement.

Old Bible
Ancient Greek Translated Bible

2 – When the first Bible writers translated the Bible into Greek they knew about the terms YHWH and Yesua. They could have transliterated  YHWH to IAOUE but instead they decided to translate (Render in another language, meaning to meaning) the name YHWY into the General Greek word of Theos (God) or Kurios (Lord). The New Testament writers did try to transliterate Yesua and came pretty close to the word Yesus or Jesus which means ‘our Saviour’.

3 Another good question we could ask is that if saying the names of God correctly is so important, even for our salvation itself, then surely Christ, being our ultimate example, would have followed this Himself all the way down to His crucifixion. Let us go to the last words of Christ, while He is on the cross and let us see what He says:

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Which is the name of God that Jesus calls out to Him when He is hanging on the cross? Is it YHWH or is it El/Theos – a generic term for God. It is clear that Jesus uses that generic name for God – in Aramaic Eli. Eli is the Aramaic word for the Hebrew word El, or the name God, as Mathew translates it in the second part of the verse. In Greek this word is Theos . The word theos can be referred to the false or pagan god as well as the true God of the bible, this is usually referenced by capital or lower ‘g’. Theos is a generic or transferable word exactly the same as El in the Old Testament Hebrew.

Which is the name of God that Jesus calls out to Him when He is hanging on the cross? Is it YHWH or is it El/Theos a generic term for God? Of course Jesus called El/Theos in his greatest time of need.
It is interesting as well that the Patriarchs of the Old Testament also used the generic name for God ‘El’. We can see this in Exodus 6:2, 3 where God identifies Himself to Moses with these words:

Exodus 6:2-3 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (YHWH): And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God (El) Almighty (Shadday), but by my name JEHOVAH (YHWH) was I not known to them. *altered for Reference.

God actually says in these verses, “I am YHWH, and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by El Shaddai, but by my name YHWH was I not known unto them.” It is significant that the patriarchs knew Him as El, not YHWH. YHWH became the covenant name between Israel and God through Moses. Now YHWH had been used from the time of Adam, but it was not an important name until Moses.

Artist Impression of the Sealed in Christ
Artist Impression of the Sealed in Christ

4 Ones who believe the Sacred Name theory also say that the sacred name will be used as a mark to distinguish the true believers from the false at the end of this age. Accordingly, the controversy in the last days will be over His name and the name of the beast. Just like in Elijah’s day it was about the correct name of God and so it will be in the end days. Can I be sealed in my forehead with His holy name, YHWH, and at the same time never call on his name in prayer or praises by that name that seals and protects. It will be just as fatal to continue to use the wrong name as it is to use the wrong day.

Now what is the end time controversy all about? Is it about the name or about worship? If we are honest we will see that it isn’t about His name but about worship, who are we choosing to worship?

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

What is the issue? Worship. What was the issue in Elijah’s day? Was it the same?

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

1 Kings 18:37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

Worship is the issue. It’s not the literal name that created the controversy in Elijah’s day and for us in the last days but who do we believe is your God and who do we worship.

It is very interesting that in Act 4:12 the Bible clearly says that we are saved by the name of Jesus or Ἰησοῦς or Iēsous:

Acts 4:10, 12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus (Ἰησοῦς or Iēsous) Christ of Nazareth,…Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

5 – To establish the Sacred Name theory, some unprovable assumptions must be made. It is believed that the whole of the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, and then later translated by corrupt translators into Greek and these corrupt translators substituted the pagan god names, God, Lord Jesus and Christ and therefore we are now worshiping names for pagan Gods. There is absolutely no evidence that it was written in Aramaic. The only book that has been speculated that it was originally Aramaic was Matthew, because it was written from a Jew to a Jew.

Here are some interesting facts that show that the Bible was written in other languages. For example, who was Luke – a Greek physician -writing to?

Luke 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus …

Paul Preaching to the Greeks
Paul Preaching to the Greeks

Does Theophilus sound like a Hebrew name? No, it is a Greek name and he is one who would have received the Gospel of Luke in Greek so he can hear it. Luke’s whole intention was to explain to the Greeks that Jesus was the Messiah. Paul also spent most of the time writing to the Greeks. The Greeks would have not known a single word in Aramaic.

There are a couple more instances where it is obvious that the book of Acts was written in Greek. Why would Luke, when writing in Greek to the Greek people, point out that God spoke in the Hebrew tongue (language). Hebrew is actually a very unusual language to be used by the New Testament authors.

Acts 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 22:2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith…

This idea of the New Testament being corrupt because of the mistranslation of names just doesn’t make sense. Let us say if someone was in the position to change the names, wouldn’t they change other texts as well? Then what else have been changed? It is claimed that the names such as Jesus, EIias, Jeremias (Matthew 16:14), Ozias, Ezekias (Matthew 1:9), which are all in the New Testament, are all forms of Zeus – the Greek god. Likewise, when we say the name ‘Jesus’, or any other name, we are worshiping Zeus. This again is a huge assumption, the only similarity is the sound. There is no linguistic evidence to link the Greek word ‘Zeus’ with the rest of the names mentioned. Jesus does not mean “Zeus is our Saviour.”

Those who promote the Sacred Name theory say that every time we use the pagan translated name Jesus we are actually blaspheming that name. Sometimes they go to the extreme of re-writing the Bible. The following is one of their translations – 1 Kings 18:21 – that has been re-translated:

“If the YHWH be the mighty one, follow him: but if Jesus, then follow him.”

Notice how Baal is now Jesus, and YHWH is the mighty one, the Sacred Name movement has just made the name Jesus equivalent to Baal.

Moses Sees the Glory of God
Moses Sees the Glory of God

6 Exodus 33:19 and 34:5-7 are classic references to the name of YHWH:

Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

Exodus 34:5-7 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.  6And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,  7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

I hope we can see easily that what matters is not a literal name, but the character. All throughout the Bible you will see that the names of people are often based on their characters. For example – Jacob. When Jacob overcame in his wrestle with an Angel (whom he didn’t perceive to be the Lord), God actually gave him the name Israel, which means- the one who prevailed with God. Now the sound of this new name didn’t mean much, but the name was rather reflecting Jacob’s new character.

In the legal world, one can not take a man to court for mispronouncing one’s literal name. However, what can be done is taking someone to court over a misrepresentation of one’s character, which is called slander (false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation). Likewise, we can look at Christ’s name in a similar light, the sound of the name of Jesus is not as important as His character. John clearly says that in the last days the sealed people known as the 144,000 will have “Father’s name written in their foreheads … and in their mouth was found no guile:” Revelations 14:1,5. In other words, in the end times Jesus will have a people that will perfectly represent His character on earth. They will not lie, will not be deceitful and essentially they will not be hypocrites.

Our prayer is that we will not worry about saying Jesus’ name perfectly but rather having Christ’s character perfectly represented in us.

An extended version of this article can be found at www.dennispriebe.com.

Interesting Facts

Some names God calls Himself in the Old Testament and it’s translation:

God’s name in Hebrew Translation
I AM I AM
YHWY God, our Lord
YHWY Sabaoth Lord of Hosts
YHWY Jireh God, our Provider
YHWY Rophe God, our Healer
YHWY Nissi God, our Banner
YHWY M’Kaddesh God, our Sanctifier
YHWY Shalom God, our Peace
YHWY Tsidkenu God, our Righteousness
YHWY Rohi God, our Shepherd
YHWY Shammah God, ever present
El Shaddai Almighty God
El Elyon Most High God
Adoni Lord
El Olam Everlasting God
Elohim God our creator and ruler

Interesting names of the first ten people of the Bible and their meaning:

Name Meaning
Adam Man (is)
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow (but)
Mahalele The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching
Methusalah His death shall bring
Lamech The desparing
Noah Rest and comfort

Resources

Sacred Name Movement Debunked