Holy Name-ism revisited

Philippians 2:10-11 (KJV) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The biblical concept of naming was rooted in the ancient world’s understanding that a name expressed essence. To know the name of a person was to know that person’s total character and nature. Revealing character and destiny, personal names might express hopes for the child’s future. Changing of name could occur at divine or human initiative, revealing a transformation in character or destiny (Gen. 17:5, 15; 32:28; Matt. 16:17–18).

Kandy Queen-Sutherland, “Naming,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1174.

One thing that ties in with the Messianic movement is holy name-ism.

Recently I’ve had run ins with a holy name-ist (I seem to attract them like flies) and it’s like talking to a brick wall to try to explain Hebrew. God’s name is not Yehuwah, cannot be Yahuwah. It would require a W in the middle of the name, and Hebrew had no w’s. It’s also impossible to make ANY kind of theology in which you make the exact pronunciation of God’s name a requirement for salvation. We only have four consonants, and no clue how they were pronounced.


There. Pronounce that. Is it Yehovah, Yahovah, Yahveh, Yahvah, Yehveh? I was pretty sure a while ago it was Yahveh, but then David Cloud put up an argument online that claimed it’s probably Yehovah, and about now I realize how SILLY it is to argue about how to pronounce something that God didn’t feel was important to preserve!

What’s important is that we know who Jesus Christ is. If it was IMPORTANT how His name was to be pronounced, then it would have been carefully written and preserved. Yeshua is the correct pronunciation – but if it was that important, the Greek manuscripts would have put His name in Hebrew at least once in the text to make sure we said it right.

Do you know Jesus’s name? Remember, it’s said differently in Spain, Germany, Japan and a host of other countries.

It’s more important to know it means “salvation”.

And it’s FAR more important to know Jesus Christ than to know how to pronounce His name in many languages, or even just Hebrew.