Translating of Elohim

menorah-windowHow God became God

Wycliff who produced the first English translation was worried because the word Elohim is plural, and he felt that translating it straight across into the English Bible might take the English back into their pagan polytheism. As English had no general word for deity he looked around for another word. In the end he chose the personal name of a long forgotten deity God or Gad. The curious thing is that English  language has changed because of this. The postmodern English reader only thinks of God as God, as we have no memory of God/Gad the pagan god. God is the equivalent of Elohim, the great creator God, not some long forgotten deity from our pagan roots. For better or worse every English translator of the Bible has followed Wycliff’s solution.

Over the years I have found that many Christians are offended for instance, when they find out that the Arabic Bibles say Allah. (It is how one says God in Arabic.) Actually of all the languages in the world Allah is actually the closest to the Hebrew Elohim as they both root from the Semitic word El or Al.

Most English reader are surprised to find that the word God or Gad is the personal name of ancient Britain’s god of luck or fortune, and is actually in the Hebrew text as a pagan god.

But you who forsake the LORD, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny; Is. 65:11 

FYI: Destiny is a translation of the word Meni and is the god that weighed ones soul against a feather to determine ones destiny in the afterlife. [c.f. Dan. 5:25]

Conclusion

Can or should we do anything about this? Probably not! At this point changing back to Elohim would only confuse and/or anger the Christian population, especially the “King Jame’s Only” people. Believers however should to be aware that this change has been made to the English language. We how have a word for deity it is God. There are several other changes to the English language that the  translation and general reading of the Bible has made

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God? What’s in a Name?

God’s Name

Moses and the Burning  by Bush Louis Comfort Tiffany 1848-1933

Moses and the Burning
by Bush Louis Comfort Tiffany 1848-1933

If you have only read the English Bible you may not realize that God has a name.  One reason for this lapse in knowledge is because early translators continued a Jewish superstition of not pronouncing God’s personal name.  They would cite the third commandment as the source of this tradition. When reading in the Hebrew text, instead of pronouncing the name of God, Jewish readers will substitute God’s name with the title Adoni which means lord.   English translators have continued in this tradition by substituting God’s name with “the LORD” in all capitals so that the scholars will know that God’s name was used in the Hebrew.  Sometimes when lord and the personal name of God are together in the text they will translate using the word “GOD” all capitals. God’s personal name in the Hebrew is YHWH.  No one is quite sure what the vowels points should be.  It is usually transliterated as Yahweh.

FYI: Because of this superstition the Jews put the vowel points for lord under God’s personal name; this to remind them to say Adona when reading.  When Galatinus (1520) saw this word he did not know that the points were wrong so he transliterated the God’s personal name to Jehovah.

In short the transliteration of God’s personal name to Jehovah is the result of a mistake on the part of translators and the transliteration to Yahweh is just a best guess. The question you have to ask yourself is…. Does God really care?

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” Ex 20:7

Does this really sound like He is concerned with what you call Him?   Or maybe He is concerned with the manner in which you are calling upon Him.  Are you calling yourself a follower of God so that people will look on you with favor but in darkness and hiding you are full of sin?   Are you invoking the name of God when you make promises or vows such as in the marriage ceremony but cheating when no one is looking? God is concerned more with what is in your heart than whether or not you pronounce His name with just the right intonation and articulation.

JEHOVAH-JIREH

second-coming2The LORD will provide. Most theology books prior to the founding of the Jehovah Witnesses used the word Jehovah for the name of God, they now have changed to the more accurate YHWH or Yahweh. (See Also: God? What’s in a Name)

God’s name is YHWH or Yahweh, Just as Yeshu is now Jesus, and Yacov is Jacob.

YHWH, YRAH is used only once in the Bible, at the sacrifice of Isaac. It is as much the sigh of the relief of a stressed man, as it is the promise of the Redeemer. It is God’s way of saying, “not your son Abraham, but Mine, I will provide the Lamb”

So Abraham called the name of that place The LORD will provide; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Gen. 22:14 

It is John the Baptist in the office of the prophet announced the Lamb.

29   The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’  31 I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”  32 And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him.  33 I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” 35   The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples;  36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” John 1:29-36

Surprisingly we do not read of the “provided” Lamb again until we read of Him in The Revelation.

. . . saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Rev. 5:12

JEHOVAH-RAPHA

YHWH RAFA – The LORD your healer

second-coming2After the children of Israel left Egypt they ran out of water. Finding only a bitter spring at Marah. The LORD instructed Moses to throw a tree into the water, and the water became sweet.

. . . saying, “If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD, your healer.” Ex. 15:26

And unlike the health and wealth preachers claim it is not a free for all promise. It starts with that great big IF. If the people keep His commandments then He will not bring the diseases that He had brought on the Egyptians to them.

Over and over God brings us back to His commandments

. . . because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Gen. 26:5 

. . . but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Ex. 20:6 

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 

For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 1Cor. 7:19 

I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 1Tim. 6:14 

. . . and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 1John 3:22 

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1John 5:3 

Finally, those that are true believers, that fight the principalities and powers, and endure to the end, are those that –

Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. Rev. 12:17

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Rev. 14:12 

They are not the Ten Suggestions.

JEHOVAH-NISSI

YAHWEH NESSI, The LORD my Banner

second-coming2And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD is my banner, Ex. 17:15

Nessi roots from the verb nes for conspicuous, as a noun it means standard, ensign signal or sign. The ending “i” is the way the Hebrew deals with the pronoun me or my. (Not the same word an in Song 2:4 His banner of me is love.)

This altar was placed on the hill top that Moses sat on during the fight with Amalek. It was to be a reminder that the Lord is to be our rallying-point. It is to Him and Him alone that we are to raise our eyes before and during the battle.

After this battle the children of Israel were admonished to destroy Amalek, and come to think of it, I bet you’ve never met an Amalekite. They are gone as all the enemies of our Lord will someday be.

We are no longer admonished to destroy people we are to destroy the demonic power behind them.

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12

The enemies of our Lord are doomed, as long as we look to the Lord our Banner.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? Psa. 121:1

JEHOVAH-SHALOM

YAHWEH SHALOM

second-coming2Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it, The LORD is peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. Judg. 6:24

This altar was built after Gideon had his famous call to be a judge in Israel. Gideon was not sure of this “call” and told the Angel of the Lord that he was the smallest in his family and was not fit to deliver the people from the Midianite and the Amalekites.[Judg. 6]

After their conversation Gideon prepares some meat and unleavened bread which he sets on a rock before the Angel of the Lord, who then touches it with His staff and it is consumed in fire. This causes Gideon to be a little fearful for he realizes that he has seen God. The Lord reassured him that there is peace between them.

23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die.”  24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it, The LORD is peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. 

There are seven nuances of the meaning of the Hebrew word shalom. This one is that of friendship. Gideon built his altar for he is like Abraham, a friend of God.

With the courage that being the friend of God brings Gideon, he attacks the nearby altar of Baal and builds a new altar to the Lord and offers sacrifices to the One True God. His neighbors want to kill him for this offense. Gideon’s father ask these people if they are defending Baal, and suggest that if Baal is such a powerful god he can defend himself.

With the peace/friendship of God, Gideon goes on to be one of the most successful battle judges in the history of Israel. So to we can have this same peace.

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:1 

When there is peace with God there is often conflict with man. For natural man is at peace with Satan whether they know it or not. They love the altars of Baal, and find ways to bring them into the true congregation.

It is only in obedience that we achieve peace with God.

17   I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.  18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.  19 For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil;  20 then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Rom. 16:17-20 

Throw the Baals and Asherahs out, it is the price of peace with God.

JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU

second-coming2YAHWEH TZEDEQENU

The LORD our Righteousness

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ Jer. 23:5 -6

The Hebrew verb tzedeq means what is right, just, normal; or rightness, and is used to describe honest weights and measures, and the vindication of the people cause resulting in victory.

The entire passage is about the Lord gathering His people, who have been scatter by false teachers, who did not care for them. That He will return them to His sheltered fold where they will be feed and cared fore, lacking for nothing.

The only one who can do all this is the Branch. He seeks us till we find Him. Then He imbues His righteousness on us. For there is none righteous. We must stand in His righteousness, for His weights and true and just.