Understanding the history of God’s name will help us to better understand the third commandment.
I walked up to a souvenir store in Fort Worth, and saw this t-shirt prominently displayed on a mannequin in their window. It made me wonder what kind of message the owner was trying to shout at the customers. As Christians, there is only one way to view this tee – from outside the store!
- The problem with OMG is, it is the acronym for Oh My G**!
And this acronym is used on the tee as an exclamation/interjection. God, is used as the expressive WOW factor. “WOW Y’ALL [are in…are from…have visited] FORT WORTH.” Though it is socially prominent to misuse the Creator of the universe’s title on merchandise such as this fun looking, brightly colored tee; this is an example of mocking God. Something that His third commandment tells us not to do.
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Exodus 20:7
If you want to socially find powerful and melodic descriptions of what G-O-D really is, listen to Christian music. A popular song titled: My God, written and sung by Jeremy Camp, beautifully explains many of the true characteristics of God. The lyrics poetically explain depth and history of some qualities He represents: grace, unchanging love, great creator, beautiful savior, hope and life. Traits rooted in history and recognized early on.
- God’s name has history.
In Jesus’ time, Jews did not read from a book they called the Bible. God’s Word was written on individual leather or papyrus scrolls, kept in the Temple and considered sacred. So as not to profane God’s name, it was forbidden to say out loud His chosen ineffable (too great to be described in words) name as they read aloud the writings on those scrolls.
- YHWH is God’s Holy Name, coming from the original Hebrew Scriptures.
Scholars believe these four Hebrew letters, Yod, Hey, Vav, and Hey, are the letters for the Hebrew verb to be, a third person singular form of I Am, the name God gave himself when He spoke to Moses at the burning bush. In reverence to the ineffable name YHWH, the reader of the scroll replaced God’s name with the Hebrew word adonai which means ruler, one in authority, lord.
At the time of the first scroll writings, the Hebrew language had no vowels in letter form. After vowels were developed, they eventually were added in order to consistently pronounce YHWH as “Yahweh,” still referencing I AM in Hebrew.
Jehovah was an attempt to form a pronounceable name of God. It’s transliteration involved adding the vowels from the word adonai, in between the Hebrew name of God. Simply put, along the way that word was mixed with Latin pronunciations, and Jehovah was born. Scholars disagree on its origin, however it did appear in early Bibles between 1100 and 1530, and was used in later translations of the Old Testament Bible.
- Continuing the observance of holiness.
Today, translations of the Old Testament into English continue to keep God’s name holy by inserting LORD in place of the names Yahweh and Jehovah. All capitals L-O-R-D, used in English translations of the printed Bible, is a replacement for the four letters of God’s ineffable Hebrew name, YHWH.
It is not required that we remember the correct order and history of God’s holy names as seen in translations of the Bible. What we need to remember is what G-O-D represents—His Hebrew name, YHWH. Our Yahweh most holy, Jehovah, our Almighty LORD. Words transliterated through centuries from the originally written holy Hebrew text, which Genesis 1:1 says: “In the beginning God…”
Open your Bible and you will see –
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