The ongoing Name debate

Anyone reading through some of the articles on this site will soon notice that we are trying to acknowledge and revere the Name of the Almighty and that we give preference to pronouncing the Name as “Yahweh”. We are aware of the fact that over the years groups and individuals have come up with a great variety of proposals and many different ways of pronouncing this all important Name. Some have even claimed that “their” pronunciation is the only correct one and that everyone with a desire to honour the Father, should pronounce his Name the way they do. Others tend to follow the Jewish tradition by not speaking out the Name at all. Our own studies and experience have brought us to the conclusion that it is virtually impossible to know the exact pronunciation of the Name, but that it is still much better to call on the Name, even if it is done in a humanly imperfect manner, than NOT calling on the Name at all. We take seriously the words of the Creator in Ex 3:15 “ze shemi l’olam” (This is my Name for ever!) and reject the way it has been changed by some into “ze shemi l’allem” (This is my Name to be kept secret!). Time and again new proposals about the “correct” pronunciation of the Name are being made and these proposals are pretty much saturating the internet and social media. Because of this, those who would genuinely like to call upon the Name of the Almighty and are looking for proper guidance, may eventually respond in one (or more) of the following ways: (1) confusion (“I am struggling to find out who is right and who is wrong”), (2) apathy (“I don’t know any longer and therefore I don’t care”), or (3) amazement (“This new proposal sounds wonderful and therefore it must be correct”).

The most recent commotion within this field, with noticeable repercussions among the ranks of Messianic and Torah-embracing believers, was triggered by the Karaite teacher and researcher, Nehemia Gordon, and his public excitement over the fact that he had found more than a 1000 Hebrew Bible manuscripts containing the Name of the Almighty, with vowels, and his conviction that this discovery absolutely supports the view that the Name is to be pronounced as “Yehováh” (with the emphasis on the last syllable). This excitement even resulted in a published article in The Daily Caller of 26/01/2018, under the heading, “SCHOLAR CLAIMS WE’VE BEEN SAYING GOD’S NAME WRONG FOR 200 YEARS”. I would not like to launch an attack upon Nehemia Gordon or anyone who chooses to adopt this particular pronunciation of the Father’s Name. As stated already, there is a considerable measure of uncertainty surrounding the Name and we should never try to “convert” others to our own point of view. What is more, I have met and spoken to Nehemia before and appreciate his insights into Scriptures and his expertise in reading and interpreting ancient Hebrew manuscripts.

However, this renewed thrust to “prove” that the Creator’s Name should be pronounced as “Yehovah”, with “more than 1000 Hebrew Bible manuscripts” to support this claim, is not without its problems. It places a huge emphasis on finding more and more documents, all of which originated in the Post-Masoretic era, when all the creators of these manuscripts have already been exposed to the Masoretic system whereby the Tetragrammaton is vowelized in a way that PREVENTS the Name to be pronounced and NOT in a way that REVEALS how the Name should be pronounced. The Masoretic text is the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible and the Masoretes were the scribes who added the vocalization to the text of the Tanakh (also known as the “Old Testament”) between the years 600 and 1000CE. In some respects, Nehemia’s proposal goes directly against the general consensus among the globally recognized scholars and experts on this subject – especially with regards to the grammatical principles and the related linguistic patterns, underlying the Hebrew language of the Tanakh (or “Old Testament”). The arguments put forward in the teaching materials promoting the “Yehovah” pronunciation (we’ll refer to it phonetically as the ə-ō-ā vowel combination) have caused a considerable degree of oohs and aahs among those who are eager to know the “correct” pronunciation but are not exactly qualified to do a proper evaluation of this viewpoint. This post, and the accompanying attachment, is an effort to bring some much needed clarity and perspective. Some of the points being touched upon, are quite technical by nature and may proof to be hard to understand by those with little or no knowledge of Hebrew. I have tried, however, to keep things as simple as possible. Please click here to access the complete study.

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Elim Blog Area

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Welcome to the most interactive area of our site! This is our Blog area where, from time to time, we shall post contributions on various key topics or some events of particular interest. This is also where you can post your own comments and take an active part in the discussion thread of your choice. People from all backgrounds are encouraged to take part in the discussions on this Blog page – this is a unique opportunity to link up with others with similar convictions of belief who may be battling with the same kind of questions and life issues as you do! Contributions in English or Afrikaans are most welcome – but even posts in other Google translatable languages will be accepted. If you would like to propose a particular Blog subject, you are welcome to contact us via email. To add a personal touch to your contribution, we encourage you to choose a photo of yourself (or any other image) to accompany your comments on our web page. All you have to do is to click on the link in the sidebar on the right hand side of this page where it says Create your own Gravatar, and follow a few easy steps. If you prefer not to use a Gravatar, your comment will be published with a computer generated retro image. Please refer to our General Rules for Blogging to ensure that all of this is done in an orderly manner.

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Die Kat in die Duiwehok

Daar is deesdae ‘n hernude en uiters venynige poging om gelowiges wat erns maak met die Torah, in diskrediet te bring. Dis eintlik niks nuuts dat lidmate van kerke en selgroepe (van die kansels af en op ander maniere) gewaarsku … Continue reading

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Who came in the flesh?

It seems that the belief and conviction that Y’shua has come in the flesh is quite an important one. In the first letter of Yahuchanan, chapter 4, verses 2 and 3 the following statement is made: “Every spirit that confesses … Continue reading

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Pray for the peace of Yerushalayim

In the tweets and the blogs that flood the internet these days, in the news columns and various other forms of modern-day media, in the songs and the poems and the writings by able artists and scholars, the name “Jerusalem” … Continue reading

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Voorbereiding vir Yom Kippur

Die tien dae tussen Yom Teruah (ook bekend as die Trompettefees) en Yom Kippur (of Dag van Versoening) staan in sommige kringe bekend as “The Ten Days of Awe”. Die bedoeling is om jouself op die gepaste manier vir Yom … Continue reading

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Briewe aan Kosbare Mense

My eie pad van geloof kan in baie opsigte as ‘n woestynpad beskryf word (op die 22 ste Desember 2012 was dit presies 40 jaar gelede dat ek as dertienjarige seun vir die eerste keer met groot oë hierdie pad … Continue reading

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A Celebration of Note

Those with a fair knowledge of the church scene in South Africa, will have come across the word “celebration”, somewhere along the way. It is a loaded word that somehow grips the imagination of action-loving people. A quick search of … Continue reading

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Torah Study Groups

There is little doubt that we are currently witnessing a world-wide phenomenon of Torah-loving and Torah-studying groups, coming into existence at a rate and a scale that is truly astonishing. In South Africa alone, there is hardly a town or … Continue reading

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How is “Woord en Getuienis” different from other Translations?

There is a significant number of verses in Woord en Getuienis that are translated slightly differently when compared with the majority of translations that are available today. This is over and above the more stylistic changes like changes in the … Continue reading

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Division in our households

I have lost track of the number of conversations I have had with believers who, on the one hand, had discovered some of the neglected truths of the Hebrew Scriptures and, on the other hand, had encountered major difficulties in … Continue reading

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The quest for the Original Scriptures

There’s a new translation of the “Original Scriptures” of the New (or Renewed) Covenant being circulated among Messianic and Torah observant believers. It is called “The Word of Yah – the King’s Covenant”, also referred to as OSE1 and the … Continue reading

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Can it be fixed?

Came home from work early yesterday afternoon, tried to pick up on some loose ends here and there and ended up in my study in front of the computer, feeling just a little restless and out of sorts.  At that … Continue reading

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Believing isn’t easy

“It has become more difficult to believe the straightforward message of the Word of Yahweh, than ever before in the history of mankind.” Some people may question a statement of this nature and may perhaps ask: “What do we know … Continue reading

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The Feasts and the Equinox

Some of you may have seen the mail from a brother in Messiah who lives in Jerusalem and wants believers in other parts of the world to rethink the method they are using to determine when a Scriptural year actually … Continue reading

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Questions, questions…!

Nobody should doubt the fact that scores of people are turning their heads nowadays to have a look, at least, at what the new buzz about the “Messiah”, the “Shabbat” and the “Torah” is all about.  And a significant percentage of these are … Continue reading

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‘n Blog in diens van die Koninkryk

Ek het groot waardering vir die bydraes en kommentaar wat tot dusver op elkeen van die onderwerpe van bespreking gelewer is, veral die goeie gesindheid waarin daar deelgeneem word.  Dankie vir elkeen se woorde van bemoediging – teenoor mededeelnemers, maar … Continue reading

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The Hebrew mindset of Scriptures

In our posts so far, and the comments on these posts, it has become clear, within a very short period of time, that there is a genuine need among Messianic believers to start talking (and BLOGGING!) about the things that … Continue reading

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The process of Unlearning

It was once said by Mark Twain, “Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”   It seems that this lesser known art of “unlearning” is something that is much needed among believers in Messiah who are serious about reshaping their … Continue reading

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Torah for today?

There is a perception among many believers that Torah, particularly the do’s and don’ts of the first 5 books of Scriptures, cannot be viewed as normative for our lives today. Torah has served its purpose and is outdated, they say, … Continue reading

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General rules for blogging

From time to time, we shall post contributions on various key topics or some events of particular interest. You are encouraged to post your own comments and take an active part in the discussion thread of your choice. A friendly … Continue reading

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