Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yahweh is The LORD

The other day on Facebook, someone who read one of my personal confessions from the Psalms asked, “Who or what is Yahweh?” I was happy for the question, since it gave me an opportunity to explain a few things that are very precious to me about the Psalms.

Yahweh is a commonly accepted pronunciation of what is called the Tetragrammaton, that is, the four Hebrew letters that comprise the personal name of God in the Old Testament. Those letters are יהוה (from right to left: yod, he, waw, he). Transliterated into English, they are YHWH. In most English translations, this word is indicated by the word “LORD” in all capital letters. We also find this name in shortened form. For example, in Psalm 68:4 in the NKJV, the name of the LORD is called “Yah.” Also, the word “Hallelujah,” found frequently in the Psalms, means “Praise Yah.”

I prefer to use “Yahweh” instead of “the LORD,” because it is the personal name by which God revealed Himself to His people in covenant. He is God and Lord and King ~ those are titles of His office, and I love them all ~ but since He invites us into personal relationship, I like using the personal name He has revealed to His people, especially since I am writing about these Psalms in terms of that personal relationship.

As a Christian, I understand the use of “Yahweh” or “the LORD” in the Old Testament as speaking of the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I also find Jesus throughout the Psalms. For example, in Psalm 2, when God speaks of “My King” and “My Son,” and the psalm writer refers to “His Anointed,” I understand all of this to be in reference to Jesus, the Son of God, whom God anointed to be the Messiah King (“Messiah” and “Christ” both mean “the Anointed”). I see Jesus whenever the psalm writers speaks of “the king” or declares “the LORD reigns.” Only Jesus, who is often called the “son of [King] David” in the New Testament, is qualified to fulfill all the wonderful promises God made concerning “the king,” for example, in Psalm 72.

Another way I see Jesus throughout the Psalms is in the reference to “salvation.” One of the Hebrew words translated as “salvation” is yeshuah, which means “Yahweh Saves.” Taken as a name form, it is Yeshua, which in English has come to be rendered as “Jesus.” Remember when the angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary would “bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). It excites me when I pray through the Psalms and come across yeshuah, because I know it is ultimately talking about Jesus. A similar word used of salvation is yasha. Inasmuch as it refers to the salvation that comes from Yahweh, I find in it, also, a reference to Jesus.

Of course, I could rewrite each of my psalm confessions using each of those names and titles ~ the LORD, God, King, Yeshua, Jesus, the Lord Jesus, and another name I have come to love: King Jesus. This would not change the substance of the Psalms for me, because they all refer to the one true God ~ the God of Israel, the God who became flesh and dwelt among us, the God who is king over all the earth. But for now I have decided to use the Hebrew name found in the Psalms, YHWH, and go with the pronunciation “Yahweh.” As you read through the collection of psalm confessions I have written, you will find that it is in King Jesus the Messiah that we have the fulfillment of all the blessings God promises in the Psalms.

Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

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