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Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

THE OLD TESTAMENT


Note: In this article, all translations are from the King James Version. In the KJV Old Testament, the word LORD (all the letters are capitalized) is used as the proper name of the one true God. This is the English translation of the Hebrew word YHWH. YHWH was believed in Judaism to be the name of God, and that was so sacred, it was not even uttered by people. Ancient Hebrew had only consonants and no vowels. So it is unclear how Jews pronounced these four consonants together. However, scholars seem to be unanimous that the pronunciation of YHWH must have been Yahweh. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the Tetragrammaton (the Greek word for four letters).


“The Masoretes, who from about the 6th to the 10th century CE worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible, added to “YHWH” the vowel signs of the Hebrew words Adonai or Elohim. Latin-speaking Christian scholars replaced the Y (which does not exist in Latin) with an I or a J (the latter of which exists in Latin as a variant form of I). Thus, the tetragrammaton became the artificial Latinized name Jehovah (JeHoWaH). As the use of the name spread throughout medieval Europe, the initial letter J was pronounced according to the local vernacular language rather than Latin.” {1}


“In ancient times, it was common for the Jews to fear uttering the name of God (See Exodus 20:7). This was also because the old Hebrew had no vowels and only consonants and there was every chance of mispronouncing the name of God that was constituted of four Hebrew letter YHWH. In fact, Jews, even when reading their scriptures aloud, substituted the name of YHWH with Adonai (Strong’s H136) which is translated as “Lord” (only the first letter capitalized). It was only later that Hebrew developed vowels. When they placed these vowels over the four-lettered word for God (YHWH), it got uttered as Yahweh. However, when Christian scholars did the same to YHWH placing the vowels of Adonai, they developed a new sound that was Yahovah, which later got converted into Jehovah (Strong’s H3068)”{2}


By the time of the Babylonian captivity worship in the Temple was no longer possible, so the Jews eventually forgot how to pronounce the name of God (YHWH). Since they didn’t want to mispronounce the name of God while reading Scripture aloud, they replaced YHWH with Adonai (Strong’s H136). Adonai is a form of the word adon (Strong’s H113), which comes from a root word meaning “to rule.” So adon means “lord, sovereign, or master.” Adon was used for governing authorities such as kings, military commanders, teachers or mentors, and even oldest brothers. Of course, it was also used for employers and owners of servants and slaves.


Adonai means “master, sovereign, or Lord,” indicating God has sovereignty over our lives. When referring to God as Lord, the first letter is capitalized. When Adonai (Lord) is mentioned in conjunction with God, it is sometimes used as an adjective (as in sovereign God). Adonai can also refer to humans or angels who have charge over us. When used for humans it is usually spelled lord (the first letter is not capitalized). Often, we see the two names Yahweh (LORD) and Adonai (Lord) paired together in the Bible. “And Moses returned unto the LORD and said, Lord (master), why have you treated these people so evil?” (Exodus 5:22).


It’s interesting that from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 there are 35 mentions of the word “God,” which is English for the Hebrew word “Elohim” (Strong’s H430). Elohim is a plural noun, meaning Gods or gods. This is a clear reference to the Trinity or Godhead consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When Scripture wants to accentuate the oneness of God, the word El (Strong’s H410) is used instead of Elohim.


For the LORD (H3068) your God (H430) is God (H430) of gods (H430), and Lord (H113) of lords (H113), a great God (H410), a mighty, and a terrible which regards not persons, nor takes rewards” (Deuteronomy 10:17).


Genesis 2:3 describes God blessing the seventh day and resting from His work of creation. It’s not until Genesis 2:4 that the first mention of the conjoined name “LORD God” (YHWH Elohim) is used. As distinguished from Elohim, Deus omnipotens, the mighty One (El Shaddai), Yahweh/Jehovah is the absolute, self-existent One, who manifests himself to man, and, in particular, enters into distinct covenant engagements for his redemption, which he in due time fulfills. The words LORD and God are conjoined partly to identify Jehovah (or Yahweh) with Elohim, and partly because the subject which it treats is the history of man.


From Genesis 2:4 to 3:1a, the name “LORD God” is mentioned 12 times. Most of these verses are describing the Garden of Eden and the events that transpired there between Yahweh and the man/woman (Adam and Eve). In the Bible, when the name “LORD” is used before God, it is usually when God is having direct communications with man. It is more of a personal relationship. In these verses, Yahweh is talking to Adam and Eve and even walking with them. In verse 3:1b we see the snake indwelt by Lucifer talking to Eve about what “God” had said. He does not refer to God as “LORD God.”


Genesis 3:8 to 3:23 describe the LORD God (a christophony of Jesus Christ) confronting Adam and Eve over their sin of disobedience and their subsequent eviction from the Garden of Eden. The term “LORD God” is used 8 more times in these verses before “God” (only) is used again in Genesis 4:25.

It’s not until Genesis 4:1 that we see “LORD God” shortened to just “LORD.” This occurs when Yahweh is having personal relationships and communications with the sons of Abel. Genesis 4:26 says that during the time of Enos, men began calling on the name of the LORD. When the English word “LORD” is used, it is usually in regard to God having personal interactions with mankind. It is even more personal than “LORD God.” It is like calling someone by their first name instead of by their first and last names.


During the time of Noah and his sons, in Genesis 6-9, the words “God” and “LORD” are both used. The Bible records God talking with Noah, but there is no mention of Noah talking to God. Noah definitely knew God’s name. “And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Genesis 9:26).


Although Abraham and his progeny knew the name of YHWH/Jehovah, It was in His attribute as El Shaddai (God Almighty) that God had revealed His nature to the patriarchs. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be perfect” (Genesis 17:1). In Genesis 28:3, Isaac blesses Jacob in the name of El Shaddai. In Genesis 35:11, after God changes Jacob’s name to Israel, God blesses him in His name El Shaddai. El Shaddai (Almighty) is mentioned 57 times in the Old Testament, mostly in the Book of Job (31 times). The Almighty is not so much a name for God as it is a description of His omnipotent nature.


I AM THE LORD GOD

In Exodus 3, Yahweh, as the angel of the LORD, appears to Moses as a theophany in the form of a “burning bush.” First, the angel of the LORD told Moses, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The LORD then told Moses He would deliver the children of Israel out of the hand of the Egyptians and bring them to the land of Canaan.


Then Moses said to God, Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. And He said, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. Moreover, God said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations” (Exodus 3:14-15).


Exodus 6:2-4 says, “And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD. And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name Jehovah (LORD) was I not known to them” (KJV). And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.” Though the name JEHOVAH/YHWH was ancient, and known to the patriarchs, its full meaning was not known to them, and so God was not manifested to them by it.


God announced to Moses that the children of Israel should now refer to him as YHWH (which is translated as LORD or JEHOVAH). “And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am the Lord” (Exodus 6:5-8).


By God’s omnipotence, He is known as El Shaddai. By God’s faithfulness to keep His promises and covenants and His commitment to personal relationships, He is known as JEHOVAH/LORD. “For not only had He established His covenant with the fathers (Exodus 6:4), but He had also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, and remembered His covenant (Exodus 6:5). The divine promise not only commences in Exodus 6:2 but concludes at Exodus 6:8, with the emphatic expression, "I Jehovah," to show that the work of Israel's redemption resided in the power of the name Jehovah.” {3}

There are 158 mentions (KJV) of “I am the LORD” in the Bible. All of them are in the Old Testament. Sometimes they are accompanied by “God” or “your God.” There are 5 instances of “I am the Lord (Adonai) GOD” in the Book of Ezekiel. When GOD (Strong’s H3069) is capitalized it has been translated from the Hebrew word Yahweh (or Jehovah). In other words, it is the equivalent of “LORD” (Strong’s H3068). Lord (Strong’s H136) is almost always used before GOD (Strong’s H3069), as in Lord GOD. The Hebrew name would be Adonai YHWH.


The Old Testament is divided into 5 major sections: the Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. The name “LORD God” is used more prevalently in the Law, History, and Poetry, while the name “Lord GOD” is used more prevalently in the Major Prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and especially Ezekiel. In the Book of Ezekiel, there are 217 mentions of “Lord GOD” and 5 of “Lord.” Ezekiel didn’t use the name “LORD God,” however, he used the name “LORD” 217 times as well.


As a matter of fact, out of 445 mentions of “Lord (Adonai)” in the Old Testament, 222 of them are in Ezekiel. Psalm comes in second with 55. In Ezekiel, the term “saith the Lord GOD” is used 202 times. When “God” is omitted, the term becomes “saith the LORD” where Adonai is replaced with Yahweh/Jehovah. This term is used only 7 times in Ezekiel. The Word, or the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, is the Lord God or LORD who is speaking.


Another name for God that is used often is “LORD of hosts.” It is mentioned 245 times in the Old Testament; 53 times in Isaiah, 71 times in Jeremiah, and 46 times in Zechariah. There are 61 times that the “LORD of hosts” is used in conjunction with “name.” For example: “As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 47:4).


TOTALS FOR THE OLD TESTAMENT


The KJV Old Testament translates “Jehova/Yahweh” (Strong’s H3068) in the following manner: LORD (6,510 times), GOD (4 times), JEHOVAH (4 times), variant (1 time). The Book of Psalm has the most mentions of “LORD” with 687, followed by Deuteronomy with 548.


The KJV Old Testament translates “Adonai” (Strong’s H136) in the following manner: Lord (431 times), lord (2 times), God (1 time). Ezekiel has the most mention of “Lord” by far with 222 (most of them are Lord God), followed by Psalm with 55.


The KJV Old Testament translates “Adon” (Strong’s H113) in the following manner: lord (197 times), master/s (105 times), Lord (31 times), owner (1 time), sir (1x). Genesis has the most mentions of “lord” with 72, followed by 1 Samuel with 38.


Note: The total number of times the words “LORD/Lord/lord” are used in the Old Testament (KJV) is 7173. 1, 3, and 7 are all numbers that represent God. See: 137 - The Number of God in Scripture and Science (rev310.net)


The KJV Old Testament translates “Elohim” (Strong’s H430) in the following manner: God (2,346 times), god (244 times), judge (5 times), GOD (1 time), goddess (2 times), great (2 times), mighty (2 times), angels (1 time), exceeding (1 time), God-ward (1 time), godly (1 time). The Book of Deuteronomy has the most mentions of “God” (H430) with 374, followed by Psalm with 362.


The KJV Old Testament translates “El” (Strong’s H410) in the following manner: God (213 times, god (16 times), power (4 times), mighty (5 times), goodly (1 time), great (1 time), idols (1 time), Immanuel (2 times), might (1 time), strong (1 time). The Book of Psalm has the most mentions of “God” (H410) with 77, followed by Job with 56.


The KJV Old Testament translates “Jehovah/Yahweh” (Strong’s H3069) in the following manner: GOD (304 times), LORD (1 time). Ezekiel has the most mentions of “GOD” with 217, followed by Isaiah with 25.


In the KJV Old Testament, the name “LORD God” is used approximately 248 times, while the name “Lord GOD” is used approximately 303 times (thanks largely to Ezekiel).


THE NEW TESTAMENT


While the Old Testament has a wide variety of names and epithets that refer to God in Hebrew, the Greek text of the New Testament uses far fewer variants. When referring to the true God, the New Testament usually uses the Greek word “kurios (or kyrios)” translated as "Lord.”


Kyrios (Lord/lord) has a number of different meanings. It can mean sir, master, owner, and can even refer to an idol. However, on a number of occasions, it is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Yahweh or Jehovah. This is the divine name for God. Jesus Christ is designated as the Lord in many New Testament references.


If the meaning of the verse being discussed is in reference to a human master or owner, the first letter of “lord” is not capitalized. If the meaning of Scripture is in reference to God or the Messiah, the first letter of “Lord” is usually capitalized. Here is an example of a verse that has both meanings in it: “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord (master) shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” (Luke 12:42).


The KJV New Testament translates “Kyrios” (G2962) in the following manner: Lord (667 times), lord (54 times), master (11 times), sir (6 times), Sir (six times), and miscellaneous (4 times). Acts has the most mentions of “Lord” with 113, followed by Luke with 107.


The KJV New Testament translates “Theos” (G2316) in the following manner: God (1320 times), god (13 times), godly (3 times), God-ward (2 times), miscellaneous (5 times). Acts has the most mentions of “God” with 172, followed by Romans with 153.


The KJV New Testament translates “Christos” (G5547) in the following manner: Christ (569 times). Christ is another name for “anointed” or “Messiah” in Hebrew. 1 Corinthians has the most mentions of “Christ” with 68, followed by Romans with 67. Note: There are only two mentions of “Messiah” in the Old Testament. Both are in Daniel (9:25,26). However, there are multiple Scripture that talk of God’s “anointed.”


The KJV New Testament translates “Jesous” (G2424) in the following manner: Jesus (972 times), Jesus/Joshua (2 times), Jesus/Justus (1 time). John has the most mentions of “Jesus,” by far, with 256, followed by Matthew with 172.


Lord Jesus” is used 34 times in the New Testament (KJV). Likewise, “Lord Jesus Christ” is used 84 times, and “Lord God” is used only 13 times. Jesus is derived from the Hebrew name “Yehoshu‘a” or Joshua. Joshua/Jesus means “the Lord is salvation.” “You shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).


TOTALS FOR BOTH THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT


The total mentions of “God/GOD” in the KJV Bible is 4458. Likewise, the total mentions of “Lord” (all types) is 7888. This sounds about right since the word of God is Holy Spirit inspired. 7 is the number for God, the Holy Spirit, and is the number for perfection and completion. 888 is the isopsephia value (gematria) of Ιησους (Iesous, translated as "Jesus"). The total mentions of “Lord God” (all types) in the KJV Bible is 3790. That is ironically the same number for the Jewish calendar year of 3790 AM, which is 30 AD on the proleptic Gregorian calendar.


THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS HIS NAME - THE WORD OF GOD


I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8). “As for our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel”( Isaiah 47:4). ”Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know my hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord (Jeremiah 16:21). “For, lo, he that forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares unto man what is his thought, that makes the morning darkness, and treads upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts, is his name” (Amos 4:13). “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).


“But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:31). “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:12). “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13).


Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


Randy Nettles

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