“Hallowed Be Your Name”
by: Dawn Marie McAlister
In every place where I cause my name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.
I knew a woman who cared for her father in his final years of life. As hard as watching his physical deterioration was, his inability to remember her name was worse. Her father had to rely on a title he’d given her to talk to or about her. He called her “That Girl” or “Girl.”
We know how very sad that is, but do we realize that we’ve done the same thing to our Father in Heaven? We have replaced THE NAME of our Father with a title, “Lord” (English) and “Adonai” (Hebrew), as well as equivalents in other languages.
A Brief History
Numbers 6:27 “’So they shall [put] My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.’”
Jeremiah 12:16 ““Then if they will really learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the LORD lives,’…”
Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.”
Psalm 116:4 “Then I called upon the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!’”
The Creator commanded us to use His Name and He came to the rescue of those who cried out to that Name, so what happened?
Apparently there has always been a question of the proper use of the THE NAME, probably stemming from the command not to take “the Lord’s” Name in vain. We know from the Talmud that the Pharisees forbade the use of the THE NAME in written documents since they would end up “on the dunghill,” while the Sadducees commanded that THE NAME be used, especially in written documents pertaining to oaths (Johnson, 2010, Talmud Rosh Hashanah 18:b). This is why you will often see the “o” missing from written references to “G-d” & “L-rd” in Jewish writings. The Dead Sea scrolls reveal that using THE NAME among the Essenes was considered such a sin that they banished anyone in the community caught using THE NAME (Johnson, 2010). All these groups were (and are) doing their best to honor THE NAME, they simply disagree on how best to do so.
Conquerors have also banned the use of THE NAME. Both the Greeks (before Yeshua) and Romans (after Yeshua) made using THE NAME in public illegal, the Romans declaring that it was punishable by death. After the Romans martyred Rabbi Hanina b. Teradian (about 136 C.E.) by burning him at the stake, the Rabbis decided that they, too would prohibit the speaking of THE NAME until Messiah comes as a way to protect the Jewish people. (See Gordon, 2013, chapter 8 for an in-depth discussion, including a theory that later rabbis believed that God sentenced Rabbi Hanina to death for insulting Him by using His Name in public.) It seems they believed that the best way to honor the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was to preserve the remnant until all is redeemed, and while I’m not particularly comfortable with this strategy of preservation, I can’t blame them, either. The good news is, the Creator’s chosen people have survived and the remnant has returned to the land. There is no longer any reason to fear death because we use THE NAME.
While the prohibition is understandable and we must respect people’s honest attempts to honor our Father, scripture itself states that using THE NAME is imperative. For those wanting to follow scripture rather than outdated though heartfelt traditions, the pronunciation of THE NAME has been preserved numerous times in the two oldest vocalized (having the vowel points) Hebrew manuscripts, the Leningrad Codex and the Aleppo Codex. Some rabbis have even continued the tradition of secretly passing the pronunciation of THE NAME on to their disciples (Gordon, 2013) for all these 1000s of years. This means that THE NAME has been preserved for us to pronounce, honor, magnify and glorify even in spoken form, though these rabbis, out of their understanding of how to respect the Father, will not tell us.
Before the pronunciation is placed here I do have to admit to one thing; the vav in “yod-hey-vav-hey” has been known to have the “w” sound and the “v” sound. You’ll recognize this in the traditional “scholarly guess” pronunciation of “Yahweh” (Johnson, 2010, pg. 137 citing Freedman’s Anchor Bible Dictionary, pg. 1011; it is also an impossible pronunciation in Hebrew grammar, but that issue is too complex for this article). Current Hebrew pronunciation is the “v” sound and some historical evidence points to that sound being the oldest, but as I write this I am not aware of any definitive proof of how the ancients pronounced the vav.
Are you ready to know, honor, magnify, worship, and cry out to the most holy Name in all of creation? Are you ready to obey His commands regarding THE NAME, to “hallow” THE NAME as Yeshua taught? Then your wait is over.
According to the oldest most complete vocalized manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures, THE NAME of our Father in Heaven, is
May this strong tower bless you as you bless Him.
Much of the information in this article is available in a wide variety of sources, but the two most often referenced resources (both discuss the Hebrew grammar problem with “Yahweh) are:
Gordon, N., (2013). Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence: The Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed. Hilkia Press, Inc.
Johnson, K. E., (2010). His Hallowed Name Revealed Again. Minneapolis, MN: Biblical Foundations Academy
You can see the Aleppo Codex online and even search it. One instance of the full pronunciation can be found at Ezekiel 28:22. http://aleppocodex.org/
For an exciting discussion of some pronunciation questions, I invite you to listen to this episode of Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson and Jono Vandor. They are discussing the “Beshalach” Torah portion and the discussion of the pronunciation of THE NAME begins with their discussion of the Song of Moses. https://www.nehemiaswall.com/torah-pearls-beshalach