The name YHWH truly means: He causes to be or exist, to come into being, that is, He creates. This is far and away from ‘Lord’ which is akin to the owner of and absolute control over slaves or subjects. There are many Scriptures in our so-called Holy Bibles about the abuse and pollution of YHWH’s beautiful name. The earliest manuscripts were faithfully and accurately written by scribes such as the patriarchs Moses and Baruch using the name of YHWH exclusively. These writings are now known as the Yahwist manuscripts. This changed so that by the third century before Yahshua Messiah was born, ‘the Lord’ was in common usage and YHWH avoided. What do you think Yahshua called Him?
After Solomon died, the kingdom was divided into the southern kingdom of Judah under Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and the northern kingdom under Jeroboam, son of Nebat. Judah was comprised predominantly of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, while Israel in the north was home to the remaining ten tribes. Rehoboam unsuccessfully brought the two kingdoms to war in an effort to reunify the nation. Consequently Israel rejected and went into rebellion towards the king on David’s throne, and therefore against YHWH Himself. As a result of their rebellious hearts, the northern tribes soon prostrated themselves to the gods of the land of Canaan, forsook YHWH, broke His covenant, and fulfilled the prophecy of Moses in DEUTERONOMY 31:16. Gradually the names of these pagan gods were introduced and incorporated into the worship of the Israelites until they were thoroughly deceived.
The Holy Scriptures give evidence of Israel’s apostasy towards Father’s name. Declares Jeremyah: ‘…the prophets…cause My people to forget My name…‘ (23:25-27). And Isayah: ‘…My name continually every day is blasphemed’ (52:6). And the psalmist: ‘Shall the enemy blaspheme Thy name forever?’ (PSA. 74:10) It is apparent from these Scriptures that the people had forgotten YHWH’s name or were not using it. Within one hundred years of the apostasy of the northern kingdom of Israel, scribes there were replacing YHWH with pagan titles of false gods: ‘Lo…the pen of the scribes is in vain (the lying pen of the scribes has falsified them, and written them wrong – Book of Yahweh)’ [JER. 8:8]. Who then were these false gods the northern tribes worshiped?
‘And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against YHWH…and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal’ (KINGS 17:9-10). All the host of heaven and Baal. We learn from Unger’s Bible Dictionary that Baal was a common Canaanite word for ‘master, lord’ and was one of the chief male deities of the Canaanite pantheon. We are further informed and perhaps shocked to discover that Baal was the son of El, the father of these gods and, as such, head of said Canaanite pantheon. Baal was also a son of Dagon (meaning grain) and was a farm god responsible for flocks, crops, rain and increase.
Which brings us to the false ‘father god’, El. And a need to explore this psuedo god more deeply. In the original Hebrew the word for ‘God’ is the common noun elohiym, especially used for YHWH because of His supposedly triune nature (we’ll get to that in a later post). He was also referred to by the Hebrew word el because it meant strength, might, or power. YHWH was and still is the Almighty. In fact, He was never El or Elohiym. They were the names of false gods of Canaan appended to Him. For this reason, later Scriptures using these names became known as the Elohist manuscripts.
Next we go to the common noun ‘God’. Let’s take a look at it. Harking back to the host of heaven Scripture of II KINGS 17:16, we see who the host of heaven is. The word translated ‘host’ is tseba’ah meaning a mass of persons, company, host. In ISAYAH 65:11 the word ‘troop’ refers to gods or demons: ‘But you are those who forsake YHWH, who forgot My holy mountain, who prepare a table for that troop and who furnish a drink offering for that number’. The word ‘troop’ is Hebrew word #1408 gad, from which the word ‘god’ comes. It is an Anglo-Saxon word that originated in Hebrew. (The connection between these two languages will be revealed in a later post.) Where ‘God’ is written instead of YHWH in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word is #410 el (strength), or #430 elohiym (‘gods’). And we have learnt that El was the ‘father of the Canaanite gods’. From this we see that Baal, Lord, El, God, Elohiym, and Adonay still to be discussed, are all titles or names of the false gods of ancient Canaan worshiped by the Israelites. The northern tribes fell into this apostasy initially, but were eventually followed by the Jews of the southern kingdom: Also Judah kept not the commandments of YHWH their God (!), but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made (II KINGS 17:19).
YHWH is not the Lord, He is the Most High over all lords. He is not a mere god but the Creator of Heaven, the heavens and the earth. And His name is above all names. As you look up the many Scriptures pertaining to His mighty and glorious name, remember, He will make His holy name known (EZE. 39:7), He will sanctify His great name (EZE. 36:23), those who love His name shall dwell in Zion (PSA. 69:35-36), and those who have known His name shall be set on high (PSA. 91:14).