יהוה is the Name of the Almighty, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth.
His Name is pronounced YAHUAH (Yah-OO'-ah).
His Name is spelled with four Hebrew letters, written from right to left: yod, heh, vav, heh.
This is often referred to as the tetragrammaton (meaning "four letters"), and is commonly written in English letters as YHWH.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary
This four-lettter Name of the Almighty was written in the original Hebrew text of the Scriptures
over 6,800 times!
However, when the text was translated into English,
the Name of יהוה was replaced with the words 'Lord' and 'God' (written in small caps).
You can verify this right in the preface to your bible (the part in the front that nobody ever reads). Most bibles have a passage in the preface that refers to the Name of the Father. It's usually referred to as the “Covenant/Sacred/Divine Name.” In this passage, the publisher will tell you how the Name of the Almighty [יהוה] or [YHWH] was replaced with 'Lord' or 'God.' Usually, the reason they give for the substitution is tradition. It's the way it's been done for years, and new publishers simply follow the crowd.
Here are a few examples:
Preface to The New English Bible
Preface to The New Living Translation
Preface to the New King James Version
Preface to The New International Version
Notice that The New English Bible correctly says that they substituted Lord and God for the Hebrew Name; whereas others, like the New King James Version, erroneously say that Lord and God are translations from the Hebrew. God and Lord are NOT translations of His Name יהוה (more on that below) -- Lord and God are substitutions for His Name.
How to Pronounce יהוה
There are many people who acknowledge that יהוה is indeed the Name of the Almighty, but then comes the issue of pronunciation. The most common pronunciations are Jehovah and Yahweh. Both of which are incorrect.
Jehovah is probably the most common and most traditional pronunciation for the Name of the Father, and yet, most people probably don't even know that Jehovah is actually derived from the Name יהוה.
Many years ago, translators were not fully aware of common Jewish practices in writing the Name, so they mispronounced the Name.
As with most Hebrew words, the 'Y' sound of the yod in יהוה became a 'J' sound in English. (Like how Yerushalayim became Jerusalem, the Yarden became the Jordan, Yishai became Jesse, etc.)
The 'v' sound is the modern Hebrew pronunciation of the third letter vav (ו), and the translators did not take into account that it is sometimes used as a vowel.
As for the vowel sounds, the translators were not aware that the Jews had a tradition of using different vowel markings for the Name יהוה to remind themselves not to pronounce His Name aloud (for fear of breaking the third commandment). So, they inserted the wrong vowel sounds.
The result: Jehovah. This mispronunciation stuck as each new generation kept using this incorrect word. (See New English Bible picture above)
'Jehovah' originated as a gross mispronunciation of the Father's true Hebrew Name.
Yahweh is another popular name used. It's a little better attempt at pronunciation, but it is still incorrect. The first part, 'YAH', is correct. However, here, too, the third letter vav (ו) is used as a consonant - in this case a 'w' - when it should have been a vowel. There is no 'w' sound in Hebrew.
Let's break it down...
The first two letters (yod-heh) form YAH. Yod makes the 'y' sound. The second letter heh closes the first syllable, making a barely discernible 'hh' sound at the end (like a short exhale).
YAH is a shortened form of the Name of YAHUAH that is found several times in the Scriptures. Therefore, when pronouncing יהוה, the first two letters are not separated -- 'YAH' stays intact as one syllable.
In other words, you say: Yah - oo - ah,
not Ya - Hoo - ah.
This 'short' form of His Name is found multiple times in the Scriptures, such as Isaiah 12:2 and Psalm 68:4, and in the word halleluyah. Funny...it doesn't matter how you spell it (hallelujah or alleluia), it's still pronounced HalleluYAH!
"Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
'For Yah, the Lord,
is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.' "
(Isaiah 12:2; NKJV)
"Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name Yah,
And rejoice before Him."
(Psalm 68:4, NKJV)
The correct way to pronounce יהוה is YAHUAH.
Yah - OO - ah
The third letter, vav (ו), causes the most confusion in pronouncing the Name of יהוה. Vav makes a 'v' sound, but is also used as a vowel making either an 'o' or a 'u' sound. So, which sound is correct?
Many people in the Scriptures have Hebrew names that contain the first two or three letters of the Father's Name. Because the pronunciations of these Hebrew names have been retained (and overwhelmingly agreed upon) over the years, it lets us know that the pronunciation of yod, heh, vav [יהו] is YAHU-, rather than Yahv-, Yahw-, or Jeho-.
None of these names are pronounced with the third letter vav being a 'v' sound or a 'w' sound. All of them use the 'u' (oo) sound. So, the first two syllables of the Father's Name are YAH-U-.
The fourth letter of the Name is heh. The heh is virtually silent when it comes at the end of a word (again, sounding like a short, barely heard exhale). It takes the sound of a vowel. Hence, the final syllable 'ah'.
So there you have it! The Name of the Almighty made clear, simple, and easy: YAH – U – AH
Now, just to confirm this, we of course went before YAH in prayer. This was something completely new to us when we heard it, so we had to be sure. Minister Ruth asked the Father about His Name,
and He answered her with a powerful voice,
“YAH-U-AH, YAH-U-AH, YAH-U-AH!”
Three times the Almighty spoke so there could be no mistaking: His Name is YAHUAH.
What's so bad about 'God' & 'Lord?'
Many people say that God and Lord are just English translations for His Name, and since we speak English, there's nothing wrong with saying God and Lord. I mean 'God' knows our heart anyway, right?
God and Lord are NOT translations of יהוה.
#1) Proper nouns - including names - are not translated. Names that are given to a specific individual are never translated or even changed to a different version. A name is a person's identity, and it does not change. Just look at the world news. Reporters do not 'translate' foreign names no matter how difficult it is to pronounce or how easy it may be to come up with an English version.
A person's identity does not change based on where one travels in the world. The name on your passport or driver's license doesn't change just because you enter another country. Your name is your identity and will not change based on the language that is spoken around you.
יהוה is the Father's Name. It is His personal identity. His Name is not to be changed.
#2) 'Lord' and 'God' are not even true translations. A translation conveys the meaning of a word or phrase into another language. For example, adios is translated as 'goodbye,' and שלום is translated as 'peace.' The Name יהוה does not have the same meaning as the words 'Lord' and 'God.'
יהוה means “I AM, I WAS, I WILL BE.”
Lord is a title that means 'master.' It's not a name. It's like Captain, Senator, or Dr. -- they're all titles, but not actual names. Lord is actually used as a translation of the Hebrew word אדוני (Adonai; even though 'master' is a much better translation).
God is also not a name. It is a description indicating essence or nature. It's like saying human, man, woman, or child - they simply state what one is, but they are not names. God is often used as a translation for the Hebrew word אלוהים (Elohim; although Elohim is actually better translated as Strong One or Mighty One).
So, Lord and God are NOT translations of the Name יהוה. Lord and God were used in place of יהוה. They are substitutions, replacements – NOT simply an English version (or translation) of the Name. Therefore, using the words 'Lord' and 'God' are incorrect usages in referencing the Father.
Furthermore, 'God' is generic.
Consider this story:
Someone once told me how she met with a group of friends in college for a bible study. A passerby was curious and asked to join them in prayer. The newcomer asked, "Who are we praying to?" They answered, "God." Then, the newcomer asked quite sincerely, "Which god?" Oddly, this group of strong, faithful, fervent Christians had no idea how to answer the question. They stumbled for an answer only to finally say, "Umm, the god of the bible??" They were so unsure of how to identify who they worshipped that they almost posed it as a question!
Remember high school, when you had to study Greek & Roman mythology? How many gods and goddesses did you learn about? Or have you ever watched Jeopardy and caught the mythology category? How many different gods were mentioned there?
Consider the photo on the right:
At my local library, I found this series of books entitled "Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology." That's a whole lot of 'gods' to fill up a ten-volume set!
What about in the bible? Ever come across the names of different gods that the peoples around Israel worshipped?
When I looked up the word 'God' in the dictionary, the definition pertained to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Christian Science, Philosophy, Humanism, and New Age.
If just about every religion on earth worships one that is called 'god,' then how are they distinguished from one another? They have names!
Other religions may say 'god', but most of them still have a distinct name (or names) to represent the one(s) they worship.
How can it be that the One True Creator of the universe doesn't have a way to distinguish Himself?!!
The fact is ... He does.
He has a Name.
We just never knew it.
His Name is יהוה!