The Sacred Name: A Step Back
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I'll be the first to admit: I have a lot to learn. I also strive to be quick to confess when I'm wrong. I'm definitely forward in saying that I'm not even close to having all the answers. In today's case, our topic being the Sacred Name, I must acknowledge that I think I've been handling it wrong. And I hope you'll forgive me.
In my previous post, I noted some of the catalysts which encouraged me to reexamine how to pronounce The Sacred Name. I'm still studying. Yet, my research has humbled me in a way where I find it important to make changes in my approach. Where I was once confident that Yehovah was the correct pronunciation of יהוה, with Yahweh being a close second, I've come to the conclusion that we cannot be certain at this time. As many are aware, there is major debate with varying sources for interpretation on how יהוה is pronounced. I have yet to find one source that solidifies the proper interpretation without a doubt. Simply put, the Sage's attempts to protect and hide The Name have been very successful thus far. So what does that mean for me?
First, the name of יהוה is Holy Holy Holy, and one should continue to ask the Father to fully reveal it; both in pronunciation but especially in meaning.
Second, I've concluded that without having an adequate set of sources that eliminates all doubt of proper pronunciation, I must personally refrain from attempting to pronounce The Sacred Name of our Father. I don't want to get it wrong. Our Father is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and deserves my utmost respect.
Think about it this way:
Would you feel confident face-to-face addressing President Donald Trump by his name if you were unsure how to pronounce it?
I don't know about you, but I'm already uncomfortable mispronouncing an acquaintance's name(if I'm not completely sure) let alone someone of authority. In the case of Trump, if I did not know how to pronounce his name, I could easily give him due respect by calling him 'Mr. President.' Granted, IF I was 100% confident that I knew his name, yet actually mispronounced it when addressing him, I may be embarrassed but I would have the luxury of being corrected by someone (probably by the President himself). In the case of our Creator, I do not have the benefit of being corrected at this time. I would merely be going on and on saying His name incorrectly and teaching others my error.
If the President deserves my respect, how much more does our Heavenly Father?
Yet, I cling to the importance of restoring His Name: יהוה! I desire with all my heart to know how to say His Name and proclaim it to the world. But as I mentioned in my last article, I have that privilege when I share Who-He-Is and what His Name means! Even if I correctly pronounced HaShem, yet failed to truly understand and proclaim His image, my knowledge of the pronunciation would amount to nothing. I'm choosing to focus on fully understanding His image and striving to share the truth about His plan of redemption instead of putting a staff in the sand regarding how to pronounce The Sacred Name.
More importantly, I'm grateful to call him Abba, my Father, because of the redeeming blood and atonement found in His perfect Son; Yeshua our Messiah. Because of that, I'm taking a step back from attempting to pronounce His Sacred Name: יהוה.
For those of us who wish to continue to pronounce His Sacred Name, I highly respect your motives and would bring no further contention at this point. I know that I will undoubtedly 'slip up' and say Yehovah or Yahweh in the future. We are all striving to give the Father the respect that He deserves; this should not be a divisive subject. Again, I am baffled that it has been schismatic. If we all point to the same image of our Father and His Son, than we must be unified as one body.
I think Romans 14, though addressing a different topic, can still be used here to glean the importance of building up our kindred as we cling to Messiah. Just like Apostle Paul is addressing his audience about the difference of opinions regarding fasting, one could say the same about the topic of pronunciation. Where there is a lack of clarity or definite proof in the Word (in the manuscripts and codices), we should do everything we can to stay loving and edifying. We must join together in the truths that are clear. We must unify in the image of our Father and Messiah.
Why do you pass judgement on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of Elohim; for it is written,
"As I live, says Adonai, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to Elohim."
So then each of us will give an account of himself to Elohim.
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Romans 14: 10-13
Whoever thus serves Messiah is acceptable to Elohim and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.
Romans 14: 18-19
Even if one was certain in their mind of the pronunciation, how could we abandon a brother or sister that is less convinced? Instead, we must lovingly walk alongside each other as we strive to imitate Messiah. No doubt, we should share our perspective and learned understandings. If we cannot agree or prefer a differing pronunciation, yet recognize His image and yearn to walk as Messiah walked, why create dissension? Instead, we are called to edify one another and assist our brother and sister in their walk. Again, the pronunciation is vital, yet an adequate understanding of Who-יהוה-Is, is of utmost importance. Let us always default to supporting and living out that reality.
To be clear: Our Ministry has no problem attempting to pronounce The Name and are in no means aiming to hide The Name. We will strive to call our Father: Abba, Yah, El, Elohim, Adonai, El Shaddi, and the other names/titles that are not in such clear dispute. We know that these names/titles point to the One-True-God and hold the same power of bringing people into truth. We will continue to give reverence when יהוה is given in Scripture; either noting the Tetragrammaton (YHVH), or citing the Hebrew. We leave the pronunciation up to each individual's preference with both respect for you and reverence for our Father.
As I continue to study, I look forward to presenting a more detailed article on why I've chosen this stance. In the mean time, I pray that we all take a step back and assess how we are handling this significant subject. Are we being dogmatic about a certain pronunciation? Are we loving those who disagree? Simply, how are we treating our brothers and sisters who are striving to walk in Messiah's footsteps? Please, don't adopt my position, but instead be encouraged to reexamine the situation. Please pray and study yourself. Like many other aspects of our faith, let us continue to strive to get it right together. Let us be rooted in the indisputable truths of our faith and especially in the image of our Father and His Son. Let us focus more on sharing the amazing revealed image of our Creator and our Messiah so that others repent and strive to walk in righteousness. Let us focus on being image bearers and support for our siblings in Messiah. Let us give Him glory in how we treat strangers and family alike.
May He give us eyes to see and ears to hear as we strive to be obedient children.
I hope this message encourages you as you cling to the path of our Messiah. Shalom!
Sean is a former Atheist who was finally awoken to the reality of our Creator—which lead him to the one place he thought he would never step foot: “Bible College.” During his studies, our Heavenly Father flipped his Christian worldview upside down in order to reveal the Whole truth of His perfect Word. As a follower of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Sean encourages believers to deepen their faith, seek the truth, test everything, and be willing to walk in the true image they were created: the image of the Most High and His flawless son.