The Sacred Name Movement
(A general overview of this movement)
Every so often a new movement comes to the forefront to challenge the historic Christian Churches teaching. Sometimes this can be good. If it is based on the truth, it can prompt us to a new understanding of the word. Sometimes it can be benign and be harmless as a challenge that goes nowhere … other times it can be just plain bogus.
None have been more bogus or ridiculous than the sacred name movement which has spiritual elitism written all over it. While there are some well intentioned people in this movement, there are also those who are prompted by pride to show how wrong and unsaved the Church is.
This movement is about using Gods correct name, restoring it and giving a revelation to people that are supposedly in darkness. (This first article is an overview and basic introduction to the movement.)
This movement is diversified and has approximately 10,000- to the most 50,000 people involved. Although we cannot be fully accurate on their membership these are the current numbers. There are assemblies range from a few to the largest of 200-250 members. Few Jewish believers are involved in this movement to their dismay since they lay claim to restoring the Hebrew name of the almighty. There are Messianic congregations that do use the Hebrew names but they do not make it an issue of salvation as those in the Sacred name movement do. Many in the SNM are involved in a metaphysical new age slant of the Bible and an added practice of legalism. So from what I can see this movement has its own leaven to purge before they able to go to the Churches of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Mashiach) and tell them what to do. It’s amazing that so few have such a loud voice on the subject of the name.
With absolutely no proof historically or scholastically for their claims, they put down the name of Jesus calling it pagan and categorize all Christians that do not speak his correct Hebrew name as following and calling on a pagan God. While the Jehovah’s Witnesses have tried to do the same thing, the sacred name movement is further down the same shaky road. This movement’s claim is the Hebrew pronunciation of Yashua as his correct (in Hebrew ) and only name to be pronounced. The questions we need to ask is first is this true and if so, is God as legalistic as they present him. Because they are saying that Yahweh’s view is “if you didn’t pronounce my name right so I’m not going to save you.” The implication is that from the beginning of the Jewish/Gentile Church up until now, has been incorrect and unsaved.
Its been said it takes longer to correct error than it does to dish it out. So we need to take our time to peel through all the onion layers to get to the kernel of where the smell actually comes from . No doubt it will make your eyes tear as you hear the arguments and what they have done to Jesus (Yashua). I want to go on record to say that I use the name Yahweh and Yeshua at times. But there is a difference in how it is implemented, and for what reason. The problem is when someone makes the Hebrew pronunciation as the only language that his name can be spoken in. We should have no problem in using Yahshua or his name translated into another language if it conveys the meaning of “who he is” accurately.
FACT #1 no one knows how to correctly pronounce his name.
Sacred name adherents make this huge argument there is no “ ‘J’ letter in the Hebrew language (true). But they have no proof God’s name correctly pronounced Yahweh either. Since there were no vowels written in the Hebrew language until well after Christ's time. So none knows how to ACCURATELY pronounce his name. Yes there are educated guesses, at best. But this does not stop certain legalists from condemning others who use the English to call on his name from their heart. So realistically they could be wrong too. After all we were not there to hear how it was actually pronounced.
The salvation question comes down to do we call on the name of the son for salvation or believe on the son and his work?
Did Jesus ask people to believe only in his name only or who he was? It’s not just knowing the correct pronunciation of the name but the person behind it. Knowing HIM, in his nature and characteristics. Who do they (sacred namers) know him as?
Lets look at their opinions of Jesus
A few (rare) have a Trinitarian theology; but most believe a variation of the Arian theology; (Jesus is not God). A small number are Modalistic (Oneness in that God is singular in person). It seems you can have what appears to be the correct name and not know the person behind the name. Many sacred namers do not believe Jesus or Yashua is God, nor do they recognize that the body of Christ (Mashiach) has the correct person of that name; since they do not believe an eternal Son of God exists. (Prov.30:4).
Assemblies of Yahweh-”(John 2:19) is sometimes presented as evidence that Yahshua is the Almighty, that He is co-equal with His Father. and that He had the power to resurrect Himself This of course is a false. trinitarian concept” (The Sacred Name Broadcaster, Lincoln Frost). “We find the trinitarian doctrine to he foreign to the Inspired Scriptures” (Doctrine #5).
The Bible warns of "ANOTHER JESUS." the context is that Paul is making reference to someone who is called "Jesus" (Yeshua). But is someone who has a different IDENTITY, he is not the same in substance, he is not God in the flesh and therefore is not the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE (John 14:6). It is more important to have the MEANING of the word, when translating a word from one language to another, than it is to make sure everyone SPEAKS or pronounces it the same in all languages. The "NAME" means to describe one's identity, it is representative of either the totality of ones being or specifically ones attributes or characteristics. "God's name ...is a symbol of [His] nature, character, and person... The name of the Lord is the manifestation of His character...it is synonymous with the Lord Himself."
Many of the people in the SNM play word and sound assimilation's to arrive at their faulty conclusions. Despite their emphatic claims on the name, Yahweh or Yashua cannot be pronounced the same in every language for the simple reason that certain dialects do not have the letter pronunciations nor the written language. However they insist that it can, even to the point of breaking the rules in certain dialects.
Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research-IDMR- They claim the Greek word Christos means Krishna. But if one translated Krishna to English it is not Christos since they have no equivalent word for this in their language. "Krishna is the highest of the Hindu gods, considered the Lord, the Absolute Truth. He has had many incarnations here on earth." However this is exactly what their own sacred name group believes; that Yashua had many incarnations (in body), he was Adam and then Joshua in Moses day and eventually Jesus.
God says to Moses in Ex.23:20-22" Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.: Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. What is meant by this is that he is God manifested as their deliverer. Just as in Ex.3 when the angel appeared at the bush and said he was their God.
IDMR says that he is also Joshua (Yahshua) son of Nun because of a sound similarity in the name. So now we have two persons who are God manifested living at the same time. We know from Scripture that Joshua son of Nun is not the correct one since he was a sinful man who died.
This particular group of the sacred Namers disrespect God’s name by attributing it to someone that is not the God/ man. So what good is to be accurate in a name if you don't know who the person of the name is?
It is interesting to see a dogmatic approach from the Sacred name movement changing all the names to a Hebrew pronunciation in the English language. Yet for the most part they do not read the bible in the original Hebrew. Most in the sacred name groups don’t read Hebrew nor do they write or speak in Hebrew. But they want and insist everyone else is to pronounce God's name in Hebrew only. Even when Jesus (Yashsua, Yeshua?) did not require it. Since the model they are using is the Hebrews who wrote the Scriptures. They are betrayed by there own hypocrisy of “do as I say, but don't do as I do.” If God only hears his Hebrew name and the Jews spoke only Hebrew, why do some think they can say only His name in Hebrew and then go on speaking in their own language (English etc.). Its not only God’s name written in Hebrew but all the Old Testament Scripture. If they were true to their theology of speaking His name only in the Hebrew language it should be a requirement to read and speak Hebrew as well.
Many Sacred name teachers have used certain names for God in the past being absolutely sure they found the correct interpretation, only to find later on they were incorrect and changed it. So what is to guarantee that the name they presently are using is the absolute correct name and will not change again. It is a fact that some now claim the correct pronunciation of the name that others previously thought it was, and already abandoned it. Confusion reigns in their search for the name that will bring salvation
What are they teaching?
In general the movement attempts to keep the Old Covenant with only a few exceptions. Sacred Name adherents mention 613 laws of that covenant. Most are Sabbatarian, and only a few worship on Sunday. Most assemblies observe at least one or more of the Old Testament feast days. The Assembly of Yahvah Believers keep all ten commandments, including the observance of the seventh day Sabbath as taught in the fourth commandment. Another group (IDMR) does the very opposite saying there are no ordinances or days. So there is a wide variety of opinion on how to practice the true religion. (although each would take the position that they are practicing absolute truth).
Assemblies of Yahweh- Observes the Ten Commandments and the 7th Day Sabbath and keep all the 613 commandments, statutes, and judgments (except the ritual and animal sacrifice laws which takes away a huge part of the law).
Along with the correct name are discussions among themselves about the correct dates for the feasts. These differences usually center upon the dates and sightings of the new moon. The Assemblies of Yahweh determines the months by the visible new moons.
Numerous divisions are within and splits of groups are caused by holding meticulous differences. There are some serious aberrations among themselves. One group believes that Satan is a female and is God’s estranged wife. Another man currently thinks he is the Messiah (as he pronounces the name correctly according to them). Another thought he was the Messiah and died (Kinley who was the founder of IDMR- The Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research).
What they fail to see is there own leaders as wrong because they are so focused on a correct pronunciation of God's and trying to correct everyone else who they think is wrong.
Some are just off in other matters as well. The new covenant church, B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh in Arvika Sweden believes that everyone has preexistence based on the statement of God's calling to Jeremiah. They have made the same mistake the Mormons do with this passage and defend it with the same false slant. Despite the Bibles interpretation in Isa.46:10 that God “knows the end from the beginning.” So he knew Jeremiah before he was born as he knows all of us. This of course is minor compared to the other core aberrations in the movement.
They have the Messiah wanna be's
What is disturbing and significant is they have there own messiahs in the sacred name movement. Two men that I'm aware of claim the sacred name to themselves. Now for those who hold that the correct pronunciation of the name brings salvation, these leaders show the deception at work.
Yahweh Ben Yahweh is the Grand Master of the Celestial Lodge, Architect of the Universe, the Blessed and only Potentate. (This is Mason terminology which may not be surprising with its connection to the Kabbala) he and his followers believe he is the Everlasting Father. But this is impossible because the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research teaches Dr. Kinley is Yahweh manifested in the flesh just like Yashua (Kinley died, but this is overlooked by his devoted followers). Yahweh Ben Yahweh believes The "true" NAME of God is the world's greatest secret. That the Son of God would come to MANIFEST the NAME. If you do not know the NAME of the Father, then you will not be able to identify the Son (which is him). He is taking Gods name and attributing it to himself. But i see no outcry from the SNM only about the name of Jesus being used. He states All that you see and don't see were created through the power in the Hebrew letters. He has written a book that teaches you how to pray the Lord's Prayer in Hebrew. Much more could be said about this man and his followers but that is not the purpose for this article. I point this out only to show the inconsistency of the premise of knowing the sacred name as a revelation to some. It has bred pride and false doctrine at various levels.
Pronouncing his name
What’s the point of having the same pronunciation of God’s name in another language if it loses its meaning in that language?
The letters transliterated into English either as YHWH or as YHVH is called "the tetragrammaton" (the name of God made of four letters) by language specialists. There are sacred name adherents that will call him Yahweh, some Yaohu, some Yahuwah, and various other derivatives of the root letters. They arrive at these different spellings and pronunciations according to their own path of discovery that they were led on to understand the name. Each SN group or individual is thoroughly convinced they are spelling and pronouncing the true Name. They have to be, since their salvation depends on it. But we find that some have changed the name, and yet they call these names Sacred. It is YAH-WAY By some, others have stress on the EH, so it is YAHW-EH. Some pronounce it YAH-WAH, so that the last syllable rhymes with the first. While still others say, YOH-WAH or YAH-HO-WAH. Other Sacred name groups criticize the use of Yahweh and refuse to bring the four letters into English with any vowels. Sacred name advocates can't even agree themselves on which is the correct pronunciation of the name. So why should we listen to any of their rhetoric? Since many of their own promoters of the name that espouse this legalistic view, according to their own standards are not saved either. They end up shooting the "Jesus" Christians in the back, and then they shoot themselves in the foot.
Most involved can be considered sincere people searching to find the truth of God. But they have been fed a lie that has lead them far down the road of concentrating on a special name. They seek and find a name and then change the name; only to seek the name again and change it again. They have been mislead by certain men who are themselves deceived and deceiving them. (Such as Kinley being Yashua and Yahweh ben Yahweh).
The confusion in their revelation position is rampant. Yahweh is the chosen name for The Book of Yahweh, published by The House of Yahweh, a Sacred Name group located in Texas. Yahweh also is preferred by The Sacred Scriptures from Assemblies of Yahweh of Pennsylvania, and The Holy Name Bible from the Scripture Research Association.
Assemblies of the called out ones of Yah, calls the son "Yeshuah." The Assembly of Yahvah Believes Yahvah is the oldest and most correct rendering of the four sacred consonants from the Hebrew scriptures into the English scriptures, and the true and correct abbreviated form Yahshua, is the Saviour's name. How can they all be right?
Then the Assemblies of Yahweh’s aim is to remove the names substituted by man for the Memorial Name of the Creator and his Son, the Saviour of the world. Restoring the originally inspired name Yahweh, the title Elohim (mighty One) and the name Yahshua the Messiah are to be found on its pages
With each new name proceeds a new Bible. They do all this and then give the seeker the cliché' the true pronunciation of the NAME was never lost. If the correct pronunciation of the NAME was not lost, why do all these teachers have to take years to search laboriously and study so painstakingly to find it? Why do many of them come to different conclusions? Shouldn't they all come to the same conclusion? Obviously they all can't be right! It appears that the name is still lost to some of them, though they may rejoice they have found it.
With even a superficial examination of the name restoration doctrine, one finds how unfounded the premise is. The Sacred Name Movement has been a tool the enemy uses to bring confusion, and ensnare people into a legalistic approach that is not required in Scripture. By refusing to accept the Word of God in the way it was written, this movement finds itself in confusion. The obvious is overlooked so they have come to the wrong conclusions. It is God who is responsible, not man for the fact that the Church does not use His Hebrew Name today. He never once inspired the New Testament writers to use the Name Yahweh in their works. This is a historical fact. History shows the Jewish scribes when translating the Scriptures would go out and wash their hands so that they were clean when they wrote his name. (whatever that pronunciation may be). The Jews were not superstitious regarding the name of God, they had respect. But they went far in making sure God's name was not to be taken in vain.
There are no manuscripts showing these names in the New Testament, so it is not a requirement to correct the word Father to Yahweh or Son to Yahshua, except for ones personal preference. If the name "Yahweh" were all over the New Testament, the Church would certainly be using it today. There is no conspiracy to hide it or change it as some claim. The Yahweh only groups use Hebrew only because they place the Old Testament above the New. They actually reject the Greek Scriptures as inspired. They have determined since the apostles are Jews, they couldn’t write in Greek. Some go as far as to say Hebrew is the Holy language and Greek is pagan. Well Yeshua was sacrificed on a pagan cross, what does this prove? Does this mean He was pagan.
This ALL adds up to this movements doctrine of the Sacred Name being of man (some with good intentions) and not of God. However there is some validity to knowing Gods name in Hebrew but it is not a matter of salvation. Less someone wants to commit to saying the whole Christian Church has been unsaved and only a few Hebrew speaking persons could grasp this truth.
God is infinitely more concerned about the TRUTH being spoken, and the reasons it is spoken. Than He is with HOW his name is enunciated by the different people of the world!
To study the names of God gives us insight into his character and nature. In the Bible names have meanings which often express ones character. God himself CHANGED the names of certain people. This did not mean that they no longer were that same person. He gave them a new name because he did something new in them that would help remind them of what God did.
Genesis 17:5 Abram ("Lofty and exalted father") changed to Abraham ("Father of the Multitudes"). Genesis 32:28 Jacob ("heel grabber") changed to Israel ("Prince or ruler of God") Genesis 17:15 Sarai ("domineering") changed to Sarah ("lady, princess, queen") Matthew 16:17-18 Simon ("hearing") changed to Peter ("small rock")
The name of the Savior
SN teachers pronounce the NAME as Yahshua, three syllables, Yah-shu-a. This is the most popular pronunciation among their assemblies. The most common pronunciation among Jewish people and most believe is the correct one is Yeshua. ("The Jewish New Testament" translated by David H. Stern.)
Someone spelling and pronouncing his name Yashua with an "a" as the second letter, reveals they have little knowledge about the Hebrew language. So they shouldn't be claiming linguistic knowledge about the name! The vowel sound after the letter yud is a shwaw sound (written in English as an upside-down "e"). Since we don't do that in normal English writing, we can use a right-side-up "e" or use an apostrophe after the "Y." So it can be Yeshua, or Y'shua, but its NOT YAshua. Nor does it make sense to say that Yeshua is pronounced the same in "every language" as they insist.
You would only be talking about the SYLLABLES, not the name itself or the meaning of the name. In other words, how do you say Yeshua in English? You say " Salvation." His name means God is Salvation. As the Scripture explains, "and you shall call His name Salvation (Yeshua), for it is He who will SAVE His people from their sins" (Mt. 1:21).
If you follow the migration of the SYLLABLES of the Hebrew name Yeshua to Greek and to Latin, and then to English -- you'll end up with Jesus. In Greek, the "Y" changes to an "I" and the "sh" to a hard "s" so it comes out Iesous. From there it goes to Latin, Iesus, and then in Germanic languages, the "y" SOUND is spelled with a "j", so we arrive with Jesus in English. Do any of these languages pronounce his name the "same"? No, of course not. Greek doesn't even HAVE a "sh" sound at all! The point is that one cannot do a direct translation of Yashua into the Greek language. This is why it is a different word or it would not make sense in its meaning. You can call something in its original language name and have others in another language pronounce it, but if they do not understand its meaning its meaningless. For example what if the translators kept all the word pronunciations from the Hebrew into the Greek then it would not make sense. Neither would His name mean the same. If one translates the name the way it is equally pronounced in certain other languages it would not have no meaning at all.
The Hebrew language is dependent on roots called the shorash. When any two words have the same roots they are connected theologically. Hosea= Hoshea, Isaiah= yeshayahu , Joshua= is yahooshua, Jesus is Yeshua, the sh sound often has something to do with salvation in the Hebrew language. When the Bible is translated to another language this may not always be transferred over.
Even the Orthodox Jews aren't sure any more how to pronounce the name Yahweh correctly. So how could anybody else claim something about the pronunciation of this Hebrew name in OTHER languages? The only thing you can do is to say it in your own language. How do you say Yahweh in English? The closest we can come to it is "I Am."
The name Yahweh (Tetragrammaton) is used 7000 times in the bible sometimes referring to the Messiah in Jer. 23:5, and Zech. 14.
How strict is God about his name being on Yahweh? Some say the Jews substituted speaking His name with the Hebrew title "Adonai" the Hebrew word for “lord or master.”
But Daniel calls God adonai in Dan.9:7,9,17 Job also in 28:28 adonay also Ps.2:4. Was he not saved for doing this? This is in the Scripture which is God breathed. Who then should we believe? Obadiah uses both adonai Yahweh together for His name.
In Isa.38:11 yah. The fact is that the word for Lord is pronounced many different ways and he, God (elohim) is not known by one name only. Elohim is used of God just as many times as Yahweh is (sometimes combined). The name can be pronounced Yehovaw, yehovee Ez.11:16; Deut.9:6,3:24 - Yehovih (yeh-ho-vee'); a variation of Strongs Concordance #3068 [used after 136, and pronounced by Jews as 430, in order to prevent the repetition of the same sound, since they elsewhere pronounce # 3068 as 136]:
The use of Iesous (Jesus) for Joshua was common long before the birth of our Savior which is found in the Greek Septuagint translation. The form was identical in the Old Testament Greek Septuagint (the precise transliteration is Iesous) to that of the New Testament text. The book of Yahoshua (Joshua) in the Greek Septuagint is Called Iseous naus meaning Joshua Son of Nun. So it was the Hebrews themselves that used this name in Greek before Jesus' time. Certainly they weren’t calling Joshua Zeus as some claim is Iseous for Jesus in the NT.
Before one trashes the name Jesus they need to look a little more carefully at what the bible actually has written. Instead of being God approved they just may be bringing division and destruction upon themselves for being zealous without the correct knowledge.
Part 2 we will delve further into the mystery of this movement and their infatuation with the name. And try to unravel the strings to get to the core of truth.