There is a fad going around among believers about The Name of God. And that is all that it is: a fad.
God is very, very clear about what His Name is, and that it is spoken. Spoken for a Memorial, and therefore, audible.
There is at least one meme that I have seen that says something like this: breathing in and out is saying His Name; and many christians are latching onto the concept, such that I have seen a more detailed write-up on the fad recently, more than once:
“There was a moment when Moses had the nerve to ask God what his name is. God was gracious enough to answer, and the name he gave is recorded in the original Hebrew as YHWH.
Over time we’ve arbitrarily added an “a” and an “e” in there to get YaHWeH, presumably because we have a preference for vowels.”
That is merely the first section of this fad. It is rife with assumption and error.
First, yes, The Name has four letters. They are יהוה , yod, heh, vav, and again heh, reading right-to-left. But, Moshe did not have to work up ‘nerve’ to ask God His Name. It was his duty to do so. Moshe was not bereft of the knowledge of his heritage with the Jewish people; he knew he belonged to the people of Israel. He knew THEY needed to hear God’s Name in order for them to follow him! They were looking for redemption from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose Name is יהוה , and they would not have listened to anyone coming in any other name. That is why Moshe had to make certain the being he was speaking with was, in fact, representing the God of Israel. Satan can come as “an angel of light”, and it was the Messenger [angel] of יהוה standing in the bush, talking face to face with Moshe. He had to know the name of that being.
Second, no one ‘arbitrarily added vowels’ to anything. Vowels indeed do not exist on ANY WORD in a written Torah scroll. Hebrew’s alphabet has no vowels at all. But, a Jewish person in antiquity, because he learned to speak natively, could read the vowels of the words because they had linguistic and cultural context: fluency. Very much later, as late as 600 A.D., a system of dots and dashes called ‘nikkudot’ was added to ‘reveal’ the vowel sounds, to help non-native speaking Jews to read the Torah long after the Jewish people had been scattered to the four winds, losing their Hebrew fluency. But, ‘vowel sounds’ always existed, because Hebrew was a spoken language, and the vowels are the ‘spirit’ of the language.
Further, concerning the name and its vowels, an ancient priest and historian told us that The Name was indeed PRONOUNCED, not merely ‘breathed’; and he tells us that there were four vowels in His Name.
That Levite and Priest, soldier, and historian, was Josephus, who witnessed the destruction of the Temple as an eye witness inside the walls of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. He survived, and became a consultant to Rome, and wrote the history of the Jews for the Roman Empire. In his book, “Wars of the Yehudim (Jews), Book Five, Chapter Five, Section Seven”, he commented on The Name thus:
“A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his [High Priest] head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven The Sacred Name [of God]: it consists of four vowels.”
In the first century, ‘biblical’ Hebrew, there were no written vowels, but the vowel sounds did exist; there were only five , “ah”, “eh”, “ee”, “oh” and “oo”. When speaking, two of those could blend as a diphthong, to create other ‘vowel sounds’, and that is where people get the notion that the first syllable is “Yah”, when technically it is “ee”-“ah” blended together. Similarly the last half of the Name is not ‘wah’, but “oo”-“ah”. The written Hebrew of the first century was handled slightly differently than the modern in regard to vowel sounds. There were several consonental letters that were called “Mothers of Reading“, and three of them are in The Name: yod, vav, and heh. These letters all served as markers for certain vowel sounds! yod was “ee”, vav was both “oh” and “oo”, and heh was “ah”. This is a very simple way to explain that His Name , יהוה , is actually pronounced “EE AH OO AH”, which we can then transliterate into English, “Yahu’ah” [not yah way].
History also attests to this pronunciation. Read here about it.
But, to say that vowels were arbitrarily added is a misapprehension of the history concerning His Name.
What did happen, however, is that in the second century, because of efforts by Rome to blot out The Name, Jews began to acquiesce, to comply, in not saying His Name, so the Rabbinic community began saying that it must NOT be said at all, and they made up the fable that His Name is ‘ineffable’, or unspeakable. Much later, yes, the Rabbinic community blotted out The Name of God from their culture, so part of what is written in the fad, below, is somewhat true:
“But scholars and Rabbi’s have noted that the letters YHWH represent breathing sounds, or aspirated consonants. When pronounced without intervening vowels, it actually sounds like breathing.
YH (inhale): WH (exhale).”
“Scholars and Rabbis” is true, and they do say that. But, THE WORD OF GOD does NOT. And neither does history.
Most especially Yeshua, our only Rabbi. He sets the example of walking the Torah perfectly, and He said His Father’s Name, publicly.
Let me explain how we can say this with certainty.
The Aramaic scriptures of the New Testament have been re-written and preserved for 2,000 years. Yeshua spoke both Hebrew and Aramaic. In the Peshitta scriptures, the name of יהוה is easily seen. It is in the New Testament scriptures about 460 times! And many of those times it is SPOKEN, by Yeshua, and by all His Talmidim and Shlikhim [Torah Students/Disciples, and Apostles]. While they were speaking, they did not simply ‘breath’: they declared and ‘called out’ His Name.
It would be impractical to list every occurrence, but, to establish a matter, I will give multiple witnesses:
29Yeshua said to him, “The first of all the mitzvot is,
‘Shema, Yisra’el, יהוה Eloheinu, יהוה Ekhad! [Hear O Yisra’el, יהוה is our Elohim, יהוה is One]. 30And you must love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your might;’ this is the first mitzvah. 31And the second is like unto it, ‘You must love your neighbor as your own nefesh.’ There is no other mitzvah greater than these two.” ~Mark 12
Above, Yeshua is quoting scripture, the most important of all Scriptures to our Jewish people, and He says The Name, five times. Do we honestly think He paused His speech and merely breathed in and out those five times? No.
Had it been customary NOT to speak it then, the writer would not have written it as having been spoken, just as Jews today do not write it. But, the writer did! מריא is the Aramaic equivalent only of The Name, and the Aramaic script of this verse contains The Name:
מריא = יהוה.
One might say, ‘but He is only quoting scripture’, and one would be correct. But, Yeshua spoke The Name when teaching, outside the boundaries of just quoting Torah:
18Pray that your flight may not be in winter, 19for in those days there will be suffering such as has never been from the beginning of the creation which Elohim made until now, and never will be again. 20And if יהוה had not shortened those days, no flesh would live; but for the sake of the elect ones, which He chose, He shortened those days. ~Mark 13
He does so again in Luke 17:
28And again, just as it happened in the days of Lot, they were eating and drinking, and buying and selling, and planting and building; 29but in the day when Lot went out of S’dom, יהוה sent down a rain of fire and sulfur from Heaven, and destroyed them all.
So, we clearly see Yeshua SAYING THE NAME, whether quoting scripture or just teaching about God.
Further, the Talmidim and Shlikhim spoke The Name when declaring the gospel, and when writing about Yeshua and His ministry in the earth.
Peter, called Shimon [Simon], was the first to preach the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah, and he did so in Jerusalem, among Jews.
From his first declaration, we see that he said The Name both in quoting scripture, and in clarifying what scripture meant:
21And it shall come to pass that whoever shall call on the Name of יהוה shall be saved.’
36Therefore let all Beit Yisra’el know assuredly that Elohim has made this very Yeshua, whom you have executed, both יהוה and Mashi’akh.”
38Then Shimon said to them, “Repent and be immersed, every one of you, in the Name of יהוה Yeshua, for the remission of sins, so that you may receive the gift of The Ru’akh HaKodesh. ~ Acts 2
In verse 21, he is quoting the prophet Joel.
וְהָיָה כֹּל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יהוה יִמָּלֵט
“And it shall be that whoever shall CALL OUT on the Name of יהוה will be delivered”… ~Joel 3:5
In that verse, the prophet uses ‘yikra’, to CALL OUT, to SPEAK!
And two more times, Peter is explaining to the Jews that The Name is part of their Salvation, and both times, He SPEAKS The Name to those Jewish people.
Paul does the same:
9Then Sha’ul, who is called Pavlos, filled with The Ru’akh HaKodesh, looked at him 10and said, “O man full of every kind of subtlety and of all evil things, son of the devil and enemy of all tzedaka, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of יהוה ? 11 And now the hand of יהוה is against you, and you shall be blind and shall not see the sun for a time.” And in that very hour there fell on him a mist and darkness; and he went about seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12And when the proconsul saw what had happened, he was amazed and believed the teaching of יהוה . ~Acts 13
There are many other passages in Acts where The Name is declared, and it is written into the letters of all the NT writers.
To insist that they did not speak His Name, without anything but later Rabbinic tradition to assert that, is either choosing to be ignorant, or choosing to blot out the very Name of Our God the Creator from being spoken in this earth.
The current fad goes on to say these very emotional, ‘itchy-feely’ things:
So a baby’s first cry, his first breath, speaks the name of God.
A deep sigh calls His name – or a groan or gasp that is too heavy for mere words.
Even an atheist would speak His name, unaware that their very breathe is giving constant acknowledgment to God.
Likewise, a person leaves this earth with their last breath, when God’s name is no longer filing their lungs.
So when I can’t utter anything else, is my cry calling out His name?
Being alive means I speak His name constantly.
So, is it heard the loudest when I’m the quietest?
In sadness, we breathe heavy sighs.
In joy, our lungs feel almost like they will burst.
In fear we hold our breath and have to be told to breathe slowly to help us calm down.
When we’re about to do something hard, we take a deep breath to find our courage.
When I think about it, breathing is giving him praise. Even in the hardest moments!
This is so beautiful and fills me with emotion every time I grasp the thought. God chose to give himself a name that we can’t help but speak every moment we’re alive.
All of us, always, everywhere.
Waking, sleeping, breathing, with the name of God on our lips.”
NO, IT IS NOT.
And if it IS, then so many are doomed.
I do not have time to demonstrate how very egregious this line of thinking is in violating scripture concerning how God wants us to treat His Name. But, to say that an atheist is constantly acknowledging God ‘accidently’ is bordering on BLASPHEMY. To say that ‘all of us, always, everywhere’ are declaring His Name is a grievous treatment of His Character. That would mean that fornicators and prostitutes would be invoking His Name during their vile behaviors. It is insane. I hope God shuts this thread down on social media, for the sake of the people who could be deceived by it.
“DO NOT take up the of Name יהוה , your God, IN VAIN” comes to mind. In the fad’s line of thinking, no act is vain!
God tells us to be very careful with His Name! If we are saying it by merely breathing, it would be impossible to follow His guideline of not using it in vain. Further, do you think He’s going to have even the vilest of sinners going around ‘taking His Name’ over any and every matter by the mere act of breathing? If so, you do not understand the sanctity and HOLINESS of His Name.
God WANTS His people CALLING OUT on His Name! And He wants them DECLARING His Name! [Is 12:4] And we have demonstrated already that Yeshua and His Followers did so.
But, He does NOT want His Name tied to wickedness in ANY WAY!
“If You but would slay the wicked, O Elohim! Depart from me therefore, you men of blood! Who utter Your Name with wicked thought, they take it for falsehood, even Your enemies.” ~Psalm 139:19-20
” יהוה will not leave unpunished ANYONE who takes up His Name in vain.” ~Deuteronomy 5:11
Neither does He want His Name blotted out, nor replaced with seemingly fitting replacements, like “Lord/Adonai” or “HaShem.” No matter how well it is spun by intelligent and well-meaning people, God wants His Name on the lips of those made righteous by the blood of His Son Yeshua. It is those who oppose His Truth about His Son, or fear those who do, that want His Name blotted out:
“How long shall this be? Is it in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies, and the prophets of the deceit of their own heart? That think to cause My people to forget My Name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My Name for Ba’al.” ~Jeremiah 23:26-27
Ba’al is “Lord”. So is “Adonai”. He does not want His name replaced with those. Do we think God wants His Name replaced with every single breath? No.
God’s Spirit does sustain everyone; He is life. But, His Name is reserved for those made Righteous by His Gospel. It is no surprise to me that Rabbis who rejected Yeshua have replaced it, and Christians who reject His righteous Way have as well. But, those who are CALLED BY HIS NAME also LOVE His Name, DECLARE His Name, CALL OUT on His Name, and DISCUSS HIS NAME. And HE LOVES it when we do:
16Then they that feared יהוה spoke one with another; and יהוה hearkened, and heard, and a Sefer Zikaron [Book of Remembrance] was written before Him, for them that feared יהוה , and that thought upon His Name.
His Name is a spoken memorial for every generation. That is what He told Moshe:
14And Elohim [God the Creator] said unto Moshe, “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE;” and He said, “Thus shall you say unto B’nei Yisra’el, “I WILL BE has sent me unto you.” 15And Elohim said moreover unto Moshe, “Thus shall you say unto B’nei Yisra’el, ‘ יהוה , the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitz’khak, and the Elohim of Ya’akov, has sent me unto you; this is My Name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.”
Zikkaron, or ‘memorial’ is literally a SPOKEN REMEMBRANCE. Anything less is blotting out His Beloved Name. It is vain treatment of the Name given to Yeshua, our King.
9therefore, Elohim also has highly exalted Him and given Him a Name which is above every name, 10that at the Name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of those in heaven, of those on earth, and those under the earth, 11and every tongue shall confess that He, Yeshua HaMashi’akh, is יהוה , to the glory of Elohim His Father.