Keith Hunt - Names of God #2 - Page Two   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

Names of God #2

JHVH - Jehovah


by Nathan Stone


IN THE AUTHORIZED or King James Version of our Bible the Hebrew
word Jehovah is translated "LORD" in capitals to distinguish it
from another Hebrew word, "Adonai," also translated Lord. The
Hebrew word is transliterated Jehovah in the American Standard
Version. Jehovah is the name by far the most frequently employed
in the Old Testament, occurring 6,823 times. It appears for the
first time in Genesis 2:4, here together with Elohim as
Jehovah-Elohim, and so all through the second and third chapters,
except in the story of the temptation where only the name Elohim
appears. After this we find the name of Jehovah alone, or Jehovah
and Elohim together, or sometimes we find the two names used
separately even in one sentence. This makes it difficult for
those critics who would tell us that wherever the names Jehovah
and Elohim appear separately they come from different documents,
for it is incongruous to conceive of a later writer who took bits
of different documents to put together even one sentence.
     For example, Jacob in his dream at Beth-EI hears the voice
of God saying: "I am Jehovah, the Elohim of Abraham thy father,
and the Elohim of Isaac ..." (Gen. 28:13). It is much easier and
more satisfactory to conceive here of a spiritual significance, a
divine purpose in a single revelation, and a unity of authorship
in the use of these divine names. It is incredible that God
should have revealed Himself (as many of these critics have
claimed) to one person only as Elohim, and to another person or
group only as Jehovah, and then left it to later unknown writers
to take bits from here and there and fit them together like a
jigsaw puzzle. The wonder and glory of the divine Person in His
character and relationships as revealed in His names could hardly
have been inspired in such fashion.

(But we do find in Exodus 6:1-3 a revealing Scripture. It is
obvious that God did not give emphasis before Moses to His
children the name of JHVH. Sure Moses wrote that name in the
books he was inspired to write, the first 5 books of the Bible,
but Moses was writing in the present time of his life, and so was
inspired to say JHVH did this or did that or said this and said
that. But Exodus 6:3 is plain as to what God is teaching in that
verse - Keith Hunt)

     The name Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew verb havah, "to
be," or "being." This word is almost exactly like the Hebrew
verb, chavah, "to live," or "life." One can readily see the
connection between being and life. Thus when we read the name
Jehovah, or Lord in capital letters, in our Bible we think in
terms of being or existence and life, and we must think of
Jehovah as the Being who is absolutely self-existent, the One who
in Himself possesses essential life, permanent existence. It is
worth observing in this connection that the Hebrew personal
pronoun translated "he" in our Bible is strikingly similar in the
Hebrew to the verb havah, which means being. And in some
significant passages, the word "he," used of God, is the
equivalent to the true and eternal God, that is, the One who
always exists, eternal and unchangeable. For instance, we read in
Isaiah 43:10,11: "I am he: before me there was no Elohim formed,
neither shall there be after me. I, even 1, am Jehovah; and
beside me there is no saviour." Then in Psalm 102:27 we read:
"But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end."
Literally translated, it should read: "Thou art he, and thy years
shall have no end"; the "he," so much like the Hebrew word for
being, is the equivalent of "the same," the One of old whose
years have no end - that is, without beginning and without end.
     The most noted Jewish commentator of the Middle Ages, Moses
Maimonides, said with regard to this name: "All the names of God
which occur in Scripture are derived from His works except one,
and that is Jehovah; and this is called the plain name, because
it teaches plainly and unequivocally of the substance of God."
     Another has said: "In the name Jehovah the personality of
the Supreme is distinctly expressed. It is everywhere a proper
name denoting the person of God, and Him only ... Elohim ...
denoting usually ... the Supreme. The Hebrew may say the Elohim,
the true God, in opposition to all false gods; but he never says
the Jehovah, for Jehovah is the name of the true God only. He
says again and again, my God or my Elohim, but never my Jehovah,
for when he says my God he means Jehovah. He speaks of the God
(Elohim) of Israel but never of the Jehovah of Israel, for there
is no other Jehovah. He speaks of the living God, but never of
the living Jehovah, for he cannot conceive of Jehovah as other
than living."


     The origin and meaning of the name Jehovah are especially
brought out in relation to Israel. When Moses at the burning bush
says to God: "Behold, when I come

1 Girdlestone, Old Testament Synonyms, p. 62.

unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The Elohim
of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say unto
me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?" And the Lord
said to Moses, - "I am that I am." The words could be rendered,
"I will be that I will be," and often the word is used in that
sense, "I will be with thee." Its origin is exactly the same as
that of Jehovah-being, existence - and certainly denotes the One
who will always be: personal, continuous, absolute existence.
     The point here, however, is that when God wished to make a
special revelation of Himself, He used the name Jehovah. As
Jehovah, He is especially the God of revelation to creatures who
can apprehend and appreciate the Infinite - the becoming One.
"Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent
me unto you ... Jehovah, the Elohim of your fathers ... of
Abraham ... of Isaac,,and ... of Jacob, hath sent me unto you:
this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all
generations" (Exod. 3:14,15). Then in Exodus 6:2,3 is written: "I
am Jehovah: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto
Jacob, as EI-Shaddai [God Almighty], and as to my name Jehovah, I
was not understood [known] by them; yet verily I have established
my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan."
     We have already noted that the name Jehovah appears as early
as Genesis 2 and certainly it is used with special significance
in regard to God's rational, moral creatures, but the two
passages above do suggest: (1) that though the name Jehovah is
thus frequently used as the title of the Elohim of the
Patriarchs, its full significance was not revealed to them; (2)
it was now revealed in connection with God's covenant and promise
to a people; (3) that now, after some hundreds of years, (how
about "thousands of years" in reality - Keith Hunt) the true
significance of the name was to be unfolded by the manifestation
of God as a personal, living Being, fulfilling to the people of
Israel the promises made to their fathers. Here then, the ever
living God reveals Himself to His covenant people, as the
unchanging God who remains faithful to His word through many
generations. "God's personal existence, the continuity of His
dealings with man, the unchangeableness of His promises, and the
whole revelation of His redeeming mercy gathers round the name
Jehovah. 2

     Elohim is the general name of God concerned with the
creation and preservation of the world, that is, His works. As
Jehovah, He is the God of revelation in the expression of Himself
in His essential moral and spiritual attributes. But He is
especially, as Jehovah, the God of revelation to Israel. To
Japheth and his descendants, He is the Elohim, the transcendent
Deity, but to Shem and his descendants, through Abraham and
Isaac, He is Jehovah, the God of revelation. All the nations had
their elohim: and even had they retained the true and only Elohim
in their knowledge, He would still have been to them chiefly
Elohim. But the Elohim of Israel (when they were not backsliding)
was Jehovah, who had especially revealed Himself to them. Thus
the constant cry of the faithful Israelite was, "O Jehovah, thou
art our Elohim" (11 Chron. 14:11), "Thou art Elohim alone" (Ps.
It is interesting, as one writer points out, to note the change
of these two names of the Deity throughout the
2 Op. cit., p.64.

Old Testament beyond Exodus 6:3. Such universalistic books as
Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Jonah, have Elobim almost exclusively. On
the other hand, the strong theocratic and historical books
relating to Israel, such as Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, have
chiefly Jehovah. The same is true of the Psalms, which may be
divided on this basis into two parts. Psalms 42 to 84 almost
exclusively use Elohim and other compound names of God: while the
other psalms use chiefly Jehovah. It is not merely a matter of
difference of authors, for psalms in both sections are ascribed
to David. It is rather a difference of purpose.

(Well it also shows God does not give emphasis to his children
having to call him by JHVH all the time, as many "sacred namers"
would insist. If some WHOLE books do not use the JHVH, this does
not mean they in the books or they who wrote the book did not
know the true Eternal God. It does mean the "sacred namers"
teaching is wrong - Keith Hunt)

     Thus to Israel, the medium of the revelation of Himself
through the Word - the written Word - and the medium also of the
revelation of Himself in the flesh - the living Word - He is
especially Jehovah, the God of revelation, the ever-becoming One.
Yes, and "the coming One" too, the One who shall be, to appear
for man's redemption; the permanent and unchangeable One, for "I
am Jehovah; I change not"; "the same yesterday, today and
forever." And in this revelation of Himself it is never "thus
saith God" or Elohim, but always "thus saith the Lord" or


     The name Jehovah has still further significance for us in
that it reveals God as a God of moral and spiritual attributes.
One could, perhaps, assume that the Elohim, as the mighty
omnipotent One who created this vast universe, and who, within
the Godhead, covenanted to preserve it, possessed these
attributes, but the name and usage of the title Jehovah clearly
reveals it. Whereas the term Elohim assumes a love toward all
creation and creatures as the work of His hands, the name Jehovah
reveals this love as conditioned upon moral and spiritual
attributes. In this connection it is significant that the name
Jehovah, as we have already noted, does not appear till Genesis
2:4. Till then the narrative is concerned only with the general
account of the entire creation. But now begins the special
account of the creation of man and God's special relationship to
man as distinct from the lower creation. God now comes into
communion with the one whom He has made in His image, and the
Elohim now is called Jehovah-Elohim, who blesses the earth for
the sake of man, His representative upon it. "The Creator called
man into existence as the one being on earth who should have
capacity for the enjoyment of God; and the attributes which
appear in the name 'Jehovah,' and which were not wanted for the
creation of material world, were only made visible when man came
forth from God's hand. 3

     It is as Jehovah that God places man under moral obligations
with a warning of punishment for disobedience. Thou shalt and
thou shalt not. How significant in the light of this that when
Satan tempts Eve to disobedience he does not mention the name
Jehovah, but only Elohim, nor does Eve mention it in her reply to
him. Is it because the name Jehovah is not known to them, or
rather because deliberate purpose on Satan's part to deceive and
an incipient sense of guilt within Eve suppress that name? Can
one do evil and mention that name at the same time? And how
significant, too,

3 Webb-Peploe, Titles of Jehovah, p.12.

that after their sin they hide, and then hear the voice of
Jehovah-God in the garden, saying, "Where art thou?" demanding an
account of their actions.

(Hummmm...speculative for as we have seen in Exodus 6:3 before
Moses God's children did not know God by JHVH - Keith Hunt)

     That image of Jehovah-God in which man was created is
revealed to us in the New Testament as "righteousness and true
holiness" (Eph. 4:24). To Israel of old righteousness and
holiness were the two great attributes associated with the name
Jehovah. So holy and sacred was that name to them that they
feared to pronounce it. Perhaps that fear was based on Moses'
injunction that they should not profane that name, and the
penalty of death imposed for blasphemy of the name Jehovah (Lev.
24:16); but to this day the name Jehovah is never read in the
synagogue nor uttered by this people, the word Adonai being
substituted for it, and by many simply a word meaning "the Name."
Thus the original pronunciation of that name we call Jehovah,
regarded as too sacred to be uttered, has been lost to this day.
Indeed, orthodox Jewry will regard it as a sign of Messiahship in
the one who can truly pronounce it.

(As Carl Franklin proved in his studies "Debunking Sacred Namers"
on this website, it is NOT true that the name JHVH had been lost
entirely, some Jews had retained it, so the above idea is really
in facdt a myth - Keith Hunt)

     Jehovah is righteous, He loveth righteousness (Ps. 11:7);
Jehovah our Elohim is righteous in all His works (Dan. 9:14).
"Just and right is he," says Moses. And "shall not the Judge of
all the earth do right," says Abraham to the Jehovah before whom
he stood (Gen. 18:25). The holiness of this Jehovah is magnified
throughout the Old Testament. His first requirement of those who
should be His witnesses is: "Ye shall be holy: for I Jehovah your
Elohim, am holy" (Lev. 19:2). "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of
hosts," cry the seraphim, and that is His glory. Jehovah is ever
the Holy One of Israel.
     It is this righteousness of Jehovah against which man

sins. And a righteous Jehovah whose holiness is thus violated and
outraged must condemn unrighteousness and punish it. So it is
Jehovah who pronounces judgment and metes out punishment. It is
Jehovah who sends man forth from the garden, for Jehovah is of
purer eyes than to behold evil (Hab. 1:13). Jehovah "created man
to enjoy and to exhibit His righteousness." So He demands
righteousness and justice and holiness from the creatures made in
His image. It is as Jehovah that He looks upon a wicked and
corrupt earth and says, "I will destroy." It is as Jehovah that
He rains fire and brimstone upon an iniquitous Sodom and
Gomorrah. It is as Jehovah that He is angered so often against a
sinning, wicked Israel. It is Jehovah who says to Moses:
"Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my
book" (Exod. 32:33).

     But as Jehovah He is also Love. His love makes Him grieve
and suffer for the sins and sorrows of His creatures. "I have
loved thee with an everlasting love," says Jeremiah (31:3) of
Jehovah. In the Book of Judges we read again and again (10:6,7,
etc.) that when Israel forsook Jehovah and served the elohim of
the peoples about them, Jehovah's anger brought grievous
punishment upon them; but of the same Jehovah it is said: "His
soul was grieved for the misery of Israel" (Judges 10:16). "In
all their afflictions he was afflicted," says Isaiah (63:9) in a
context full of the love and pity of Jehovah. "How can I give
thee up O Ephraim ... my heart heaves within me, my repentings,
together they are kindled" (Hosea 11:8).
     But while, as Jehovah, His holiness must condemn, He is also
Love, and His love redeems; and He seeks to bring man back into
fellowship with Himself. So, as one writer says: "Wherever the
name 'Jehovah' appears, after man has fallen from original
righteousness, what see we - but that God is ever seeking the
restoration of man." 4 He comes seeking Adam and Eve. He teaches
man how to approach Him anew by means of sacrifice, a substitute.
     In the whole sacrificial system, both in the Patriarchal and
Levitical dispensations, the object of approach is Jehovah as
distinct from Elohim. It is interesting to note in this
connection that in the first seven chapters of Leviticus, which
especially set forth the system of sacrifice, Elohim occurs only
once alone, and once together with Jehovah, while Jehovah occurs
eighty-six times. The same is true of the sixteenth chapter of
this book which speaks of the great Day of Atonement, where only
the name Jehovah occurs, and that, twelve times. It is further
interesting to note in connection with the account of the Ark and
the Flood that in Genesis 6:22 we read that Noah did according to
all that God (Elohim) commanded him, while in Genesis 7:5 it is
said that Noah did according to all that Jehovah commanded him.
The context will reveal that in the first reference the name
Elohim is used with reference to the bringing in of two of every
kind of creature into the Ark, for their preservation. The mighty
Elohim who has created is also the Covenant-Elohim who has
covenanted to preserve that creation. In Genesis 7:5, however,
the name Jehovah is used in connection with the command to bring
into the Ark seven pairs of every clean beast.

4 Op. cit., p.12.
     It is not merely for preservation now but for that sacrifice
upon which forgiveness and fellowship with Jehovah are based. It
was of these clean beasts that Noah offered burnt offerings to
Jehovah after the flood. 5

(All interesting after the fact for Israel in Moses day and for
us today, but in the time of Noah we still have the truth of
Exodus 6:3 - by JHVH they did not know God - Keith Hunt)

     At the close of the fourth chapter of Genesis, that chapter
of tragedy for Adam and Eve, the new son born to them is named
Enos, which is a word for man denoting a weak and fallen state.
It signifies helplessness. And then men began to call on the name
of Jehovah. Weak, helpless man finds he needs more than the
mighty, omnipotent, transcendent Being signified by the name
Elohim. He needs that favor and fellowship with the divine Being
for which he was made, and which is signified by Jehovah. It is
the attribute of love in Jehovah which restores to communion with
Himself that man who has sinned against His righteousness and
holiness. "From the earliest days the name of Jehovah was taken
as the embodiment of that hope for the human race which found
expression in sacrifice and in prayer." 6

(No...Exodus 6:3 still applies here. They did not know God by
JHVH so is the clear teaching of Exodus 6:3 and no fancy foor-
work can change the clear teaching. And to think that God's
children could NOT know of His love, of His mercy, of all His
attributes without knowing the JHVH word is beyond all logical
reasoning of people that wanted and had a relationship with the
Eternal God of the universe and He with them. Those who were His
children were His children and would have known all of His
attributes from love to justice to judgment to mercy - Keith

     So the love in Jehovah does not forsake fallen man. His
Spirit continues to strive with man in a period of utter

     It is as Jehovah He manifests Himself in covenants and acts
of deliverance and redemption. To the children of Israel in cruel
and groveling bondage He says, "I am Jehovah, I will bring you
out" (Exod. 6:6).

     God is always Jehovah to Israel because of His great
redemption and deliverance of them. He is in constant
communication with Moses. His glory descends upon the tabernacle
like a cloud, and Jehovah speaks with Moses face to face as a man
speaks to his friend (Exod. 33:9,11 ). What a marvelous passage,
and how revealing

5 Jukes, The Names of God in Holy Scripture, p.47. 
6 Girdlestone, Old Testament Synonyms, p.65.

of what is contained in that wonderful name in Exodus 34:5-7:

"And Jehovah descended in the cloud ... and proclaimed Jehovah by
name. And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah,
Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant
in lovingkindness and truth; keeping lovingkindness for
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin"

     Speaking of a day of redemption in grace even yet in the
future Zechariah says: "I will say it is my people, and they
shall say, Jehovah is my God" (Zech. 13:9). Jehovah, yea, even
Jehovah is my God. It is Jehovah that Isaiah says is "a just God
and a Saviour." "Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the
earth ... Only in Jehovah is righteousness and strength; even to
him shall men come" (Isa. 45:22,24). "Blessed," indeed, "the
people who know the joyful sound: O Jehovah in the light of thy
countenance they shall walk. In thy name [Jehovah] they shall
rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness they shall be
exalted" (Ps. 89:15,16).



As it was going to be a new dispensation of God working with and
through a nation of people, while other nations would be put to
one side (see Ephesians 2:11-12) until the New Covenant was
brought it (individuals from other nations could though come into
Israel and find the true God, but again wihtin the context of the
nation of Israel). The Elohim God was now with Moses revealing
Himself with JHVH, which would become used more often in the
Scriptures than any other name of God. But as Stone has said some
whole books of the OT do not contain the JHVH. Again proving
that the children of God could still know the nature and
attributes of the Eternal One without knowing JHVH.
I grew up in an English school with the KJV as a Bible, and in my
years of Sunday-school; I never heard the JHVH pronounced or the
word "Jehovah" said by anyone. The JHVH meant nothing to me
because I did not know what it was. But did I understand in my
childhood and youth the nature of God? Did I understand His
attributes? YOU BET I DID!! Just had to read the Bible itself to
understand that fact.

Abraham I'm quite sure understood the nature of God, His
attributes, His love, and His justice, and His judgment, and His
covenants (Genesis 18 a classic example) but as Exodus 6:3
plainly teaches Abraham did not know the Eternal Elohim as JHVH.

Keith Hunt
To be continued 

  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

Navigation List:

Word Search: