Should God’s Holy Name Be Pronounced?

Unless stated otherwise, all quotations from the Holy Bible are from the World English Bible renditions, with the English form of the Holy Name supplied as “Jehovah” in the appropriate places.

The claim is often made the God’s Holy Name is ineffable, that it should never be pronounced. In reality, however, you will probably not ever meet anyone who, when reading the scriptures aloud, does not give some kind of pronunciation to the Holy Name. Most translations into English have changed the Holy Name to “the Lord” and/or “God”, and most English readers, when reading the scriptures out loud do not skip over the Holy Name so as to not pronounce it at all, but almost always will read whatever the translator has changed to the Holy Name to; in other words, they will usually pronounce the Holy Name as “the Lord” or “God”. This means that they do not do as they claim, that is refrain from pronouncing the Holy Name at all, but they do indeed mispronounce the Holy Name as being “the Lord” or “God”. If they truly would not pronounce it, they would have to just skip over the Most Holy name altogether, rather than pronounce the Most Holy Name as “the Lord” or any other word that they may use to represent the Holy Name. In the substitution, they would have the Most High proclaiming: “I am the LORD, that is My name.” (Isaiah 42:8, New American Standard) Since the God of Israel did not proclaim His name to be “the Lord”, this actually changes the words of the Most High into something that he did not say. If one reads this aloud as it appears in most translations, therefore, one is actually pronouncing the Holy Name as “the Lord,” and would have the Most High Himself as stating that His name is “the Lord.” (Which, in effect, is a lie, since that is not what the Most High proclaimed his name to be.) To actually not pronounce the Most Holy Name at all, they would have to read this as: “I am …. That is my name.”

“The Lord,” however, is not the holy name, nor does the Hebrew form of the Holy Name mean “the Lord”. The expression “the Lord” denotes a titular noun, whereas the Holy Name in the Hebrew is a verb, which actually means, when translated, “He is”. Thus, contrary to claims of many, the Hebrew tetragrammaton does not actually translate into English as either “the Lord” or as “God”. But by substituting the “the Lord,” and reading “the Lord” into the scriptures as though it were the holy name, “the Lord” itself is being falsely presented as the “holy name” of the only true God.

The claim is made that the first century Christians did not use the holy name. In order to definitely say that the first century Christians did not use the most holy name in the universe, one would need to have either lived at that time to testify to that, or we would need to have actual manuscripts of the first century Christians that would have ” ” instead of the holy name. Jesus certainly did not proclaim himself to have come in the name of ” “. We do have indisputable evidence in the extant manuscripts of the NT that the Holy Name has been changed to forms of the Greek words transliterated as: “Kurios,” “Theos,” and “Dunamis”. What we do not find any where in the Scriptures is that Jehovah ever authorized anyone to change his Holy Name to other words.

The question is: Did Jesus tell Jerusalem that they would be desolated until they proclaimed Blessed is he who comes in the name of a god by the name often transliterated into English as “Kurios”? (Matthew 23:33; Luke 13:35) If he did, then he was actually replacing and pronouncing the most holy name in the Greek with the word that we transliterate into English as “Kurios” or “Kyrios”,” and, if he actually did this, then he would have been following the commandments, not of his God and Father, but of men — the kind of commandments that he had condemned. — Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7,8.

And further, one could say that he was not the prophet foretold, since that prophet was to come in the name of Jehovah (Yahweh), not Kurios. — Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Psalm 118:26; Matthew 21:19; 23:39; Mark 11:9; 13:35; 19:38; John 12:13; See Acts 3:13-26.

Did Jesus, when he read aloud from Isaiah 61:1,2, as recorded in Luke 4:16-21, declare that the spirit of a God by the name of Kurios was upon him, or did he use a form of the holy name, Jehovah? — Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

It is claimed that the Holy Name was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: ‘Adonai,’ which means ‘Lord.’ This describes the stance taken by apostate Jewish leaders, who had, to a great extent, been influenced by Hellenistic philosophy. In effect, however, reading the holy name as “Adonai” would be changing the holy name into Adonai, a superlative form of “Adon,” — lord. In other words, it means that, instead of not pronouncing the holy name, one would actually be mispronouncing the holy name as “Adonai.” It would end up having Jehovah saying in Isaiah 42:8: “I am Adonai; that is my name.” That is not what Jehovah declared his name to be, and would result in a false testimony of the words of the Most High Himself.

And it would have Jehovah saying in Exodus 3:15: “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Adonai, 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, and this is my memorial to all generations.” In other words, it would have Jehovah declaring that his memorial name is Adonai, not Jehovah. The fact is, however, Jehovah never authorized anyone to change his name to Adonai, Kurios, the Lord, HaShem, or anything else

It is assumed that the first century Christians used the Septuagint; others claim that the Septuagint, as we know it, did not exist until after apostate Christians had edited earlier Greek manuscripts to produce what we today know as the Septuagint. Thus, some claim that the LXX, in effect, quotes the New Testament writers, not the other way around. Very few quotes of the Old Testament in the NT are “direct quotes,” but are what would today call “indirect quotes.” At any rate, the evidence that first century Christians used the Septuagint is questionable.

Nevertheless, there are some Greek Old Testament manuscript fragments from the first and second centuries BC of what many consider to be earlier versions of the Septuagint, or at least forerunners of the LXX, that do contain forms of the most holy name, which are not changed to forms of Kurios.

It was man — apostate Jewish leaders — not Jehovah, who decided that the holy name should not be pronounced, under the guise that to pronounce it was a misuse of the holy name. (This had nothing to do with having supposedly lost the pronunciation.) In doing so, these Jewish leaders who proclaimed such were actually sidestepping the commandments of Jehovah. And yet, these same Jewish leaders who claimed that the name was not to be pronounced, also declared that when the name appeared in the scriptures, that it was to be read with a form ADON (transliterated) or ELOHIYM (transliterated), which, in effect, means that they would be pronouncing the Holy Name by use of forms of these words.

The scriptures no where speak of the most Holy Name in the universe as “ineffable.” And yet, those who make this claim do not pass over the name so as not to pronounce it, but rather they do give the holy name a pronunciation as “the Lord,” “Adonai,” “HaShem,” etc., thus, in effect, changing the Holy Name.

If Jehovah did not wish us to pronounce his name because we might mispronounce his name, we are sure he would have told us so. He never did; it was man that has told us this. It is not Jehovah who has told us not to pronounce his holy name; indeed his declaration is just the opposite. The name of Jehovah endures forever (Psalm 135:13), and thus we can and indeed should magnify that name by using it; whether it is the exact same pronunciation as was used by Eve, by Noah, by Abraham, by Moses, by Daniel, etc., is irrelevant.

Some scripture taken from the World English translation (holy name supplied in the New Testament scriptures):

I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe greatness to our God. — Deuteronomy 32:3.

Now, Jehovah God, the word that you have spoken concerning your servant, and concerning his house, confirm you it forever, and do as you have spoken. Let your name be magnified forever, saying, Jehovah of hosts is God over Israel; and the house of your servant David shall be established before you. — 2 Samuel 7:25,26.

Therefore I will give thanks to you, Jehovah, among the nations, Will sing praises to your name. — 2 Samuel 22:50.

Oh give thanks to Jehovah, call on his name; Make known his doings among the peoples. — 1 Chronicles 16:10.

Ascribe to Jehovah the glory due to his name. — 1 Chronicles 16:29.

Let your name be established and magnified forever, saying, Jehovah of Hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and the house of David your servant is established before you. — 1 Chronicles 17:24.

I will give thanks to Jehovah according to his righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of Jehovah Most High. — Psalm 7:17.

Jehovah, our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth! — Psalm 8:9.

Therefore I will give thanks to you, Jehovah, among the nations, And will sing praises to your name. — Psalm 18:49.

Ascribe to Jehovah the glory due to his name. Worship Jehovah in holy array. — Psalm 29:2.

Sing praise to Jehovah, you saints of his. Give thanks to his holy name. — Psalm 30:4.

Oh magnify Jehovah with me. Let us exalt his name together. — Psalm 34:3.

Fill their faces with confusion, That they may seek your name, Jehovah. — Psalm 83:16.

That they may know that you alone, whose name is Jehovah, Are the Most High over all the earth. — Psalm 83:18.

Teach me your way, Jehovah. I will walk in your truth. Make my heart undivided to fear your name. — Psalm 86:11.

Sing to Jehovah! Bless his name. Proclaim his salvation from day to day. — Psalm 96:2.

Ascribe to Jehovah the glory due to his name. Bring an offering, and come into his courts. — Psalm 96:8.

Be glad in Jehovah, you righteous people! Give thanks to his holy Name. — Psalm 97:12.

This will be written for the generation to come. A people which will be created will praise Jah. For he has looked down from the height of his sanctuary. From heaven, Jehovah saw the earth; To hear the groans of the prisoner; To free those who are condemned to death; That men may declare the name of Jehovah in Zion, And his praise in Jerusalem; When the peoples are gathered together, The kingdoms, to serve Jehovah. — Psalm 102:18-22.

Praise Jehovah, my soul! All that is within me, praise his holy name! — Psalm 103:1.

Give thanks to Jehovah! Call on his name! Make his doings known among the peoples. — Psalm 105:1.

Glory in his holy name. Let the heart of them rejoice who seek Jehovah. — Psalm 105:3.

Save us, Jehovah, our God, Gather us from among the nations, To give thanks to your holy name, To triumph in your praise! — Psalm 106:47.

Praise Jah! Praise, you servants of Jehovah, Praise the name of Jehovah. — Psalm 113:1.

Blessed be the name of Jehovah, From this time forth and forevermore. — Psalm 113:2.

Not to us, Jehovah, not to us, But to your name give glory, For your lovingkindness, and for your truth’s sake. — Psalm 115:1.

Then called I on the name of Jehovah: “Jehovah, I beg you, deliver my soul.” — Psalm 116:4.

I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of Jehovah. — Psalm 116:13.

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call on the name of Jehovah. — Psalm 116:17.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of Jehovah! We have blessed you out of the house of Jehovah. — Psalm 118:26.

I have remembered your name, Jehovah, in the night, And I obey your law. — Psalm 119:55.

Our help is in the name of Jehovah, Who made heaven and earth.– Psalm 124:8.

Praise Yah! Praise the name of Jehovah! Praise him, you servants of Jehovah. — Psalm 129:8.

Praise Yah, for Jehovah is good. Sing praises to his name, for that is pleasant. — Psalm 135:3.

Your name, Jehovah, endures forever; Your renown, Jehovah, throughout all generations. — Psalm 135:13.

My mouth will speak the praise of Jehovah. Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. — Psalm 145:21.

Praise Yah! Praise Jehovah from the heavens! Praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you heavens of heavens, You waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of Jehovah, For he commanded, and they were created. — Psalm 148:1-5.

Let them praise the name of Jehovah, For his name alone is exalted. His glory is above the earth and the heavens. — Psalm 148:13.

In that day you will say, “Give thanks to Jehovah! Call on his name. Declare his doings among the peoples. Proclaim that his name is exalted! — Isaiah 12:4.

Therefore glorify Jehovah in the east, even the name of Jehovah, the God of Israel, in the isles of the sea! — Isaiah 24:15

Jehovah, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, [even] counsels of old, in faithfulness [and] truth. — Isaiah 25:1.

Yes, in the way of your judgments, Jehovah, have we waited for you; to your name, even to your memorial [name], is the desire of our soul. — Isaiah 26:8.

I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to engraved images. — Isaiah 42:8.

Our Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. — Isaiah 47:4.

Who is among you who fears Jehovah, who obeys the voice of his servant? He who walks in darkness, and has no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and rely on his God. — Isaiah 50:10.

For I am Jehovah your God, who stirs up the sea, so that the waves of it roar: Jehovah of Hosts is his name. — Isaiah 51:15.

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. — Jeremiah 3:17.

Therefore, behold, I will cause them to know, this once will I cause them to know my hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is Jehovah. — Jeremiah 16:21.

Thus says Jehovah who does it, Jehovah who forms it to establish it; Jehovah is his name. — Jeremiah 33:2.

I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, says the Lord Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. — Ezekiel 36:23.

My holy name will I make known in the midst of my people Israel; neither will I allow my holy name to be profaned any more: and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel. — Ezekiel 39:7.

Even Jehovah, the God of hosts; Jehovah is his name of renown! — Hosea 12:5.

It will happen that whoever will call on the name of Jehovah shall be saved; For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, As Jehovah has said, And among the remnant, those whom Jehovah calls. — Joel 2:32.

Indeed all the nations may walk in the name of their gods; But we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God forever and ever. — Micah 4:5.

He [the Messiah] shall stand, and shall shepherd in the strength of Jehovah, In the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God: And they will live, for then he will be great to the ends of the earth. — Micah 5:4).

For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on the name of Jehovah, to serve him shoulder to shoulder. — Zephaniah 3:9.

I will bring the third part into the fire, And will refine them as silver is refined, And will test them like gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say, ‘It is my people;’ And they will say, ‘Jehovah is my God.'” — Zechariah 13:9.

For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same my name is be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering: for my name is great among the nations,” says Jehovah of Hosts. — Malachi 1:11.

If you will not listen, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name,” says Jehovah of Hosts, “then will I send the curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart. — Malachi 2:2.

Then those who feared Jehovah spoke one with another; and Jehovah listened, and heard, and a book of memory was written before him, for those who feared Jehovah, and who honored his name. — Malachi 3:16.

The multitudes who went before him, and who followed, cried, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of [Jehovah]! Hosanna in the highest!” — Matthew 21:9.

For I tell you, you will not see me from now on, until you will say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of [Jehovah].’ — Matthew 23:39.

Those who went in front, and those who followed, cried, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of [Jehovah]! — Mark 11:9.

Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming in the name of [Jehovah]! Hosanna in the highest!” — Mark 11:10.

Behold, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of [Jehovah]!’ — Luke 13:35.

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of [Jehovah]! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!” — Luke 19:38.

They took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of [Jehovah], the King of Israel!” — John 12:13.

It will be, that whoever will call on the name of [Jehovah] will be saved.’ — Acts 2:21.

That the rest of men may seek after [Jehovah]; All the Gentiles who are called by my name, Says [Jehovah], who does all these things. — Acts 15:17.

For, “Whoever will call on the name of [Jehovah] will be saved.” — Romans 10:13.

Take, brothers, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of [Jehovah]. — James 5:10.


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