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Its Origin and Significance
The word hallelujah, pronounced “halleluYah,” is the most ancient of all words of praise. It is used both on earth and in heaven to worship the Almighty (Rev. 19:1-6). What is the origin, meaning, and significance of this well-known word?
HalleluYah is a pure Hebrew word and yet it is found in almost every language under the sun. The first part of the word, “hallelu,” means “praise” or “praise ye.” The last part, “Yah,” is the Name of the One being praised.
Yahweh is the personal Name of the Heavenly Father. Yah is the basic or short form of the Heavenly Father’s Name. The full form of the Father’s sacred Name is Yahweh. This Name is found in the Hebrew Scriptures, Bible concordances, encyclopedias and dictionaries, as well as in many current writings of history and archaeology.
Yahweh’s Name is found more than 6,800 times in the Bible’s original language. We also find it as the end of many names of Bible prophets, such as Elijah (EliYah), which means “My Mighty One is Yah,” as well as Jeremiah, Obadiah, Isaiah, Zechariah, etc.
Where We Got the Word “Jehovah”
Until recent years, many people thought that His Name was to be pronounced “Jehovah,” but, as the Encyclopedia Britannica explains, “Jehovah” is an erroneous form of the Sacred Name, of which the true form is Yahweh.” Most modern dictionaries show the same.
We should not profane the Creator’s Name by using an erroneous or corrupted form. This wrong form came about when certain Bible translators mistakenly used the vowel sounds of the Hebrew word for master (adonai) and mixed them with the four Hebrew letters (tetragrammaton) that form the Heavenly Father’s Name.
Here is how and why this happened: Originally, the Name Yahweh was known and used worldwide when all men knew Him and there were no false deities. But after most of the world went into idolatry, Yahweh made Himself known again by Name to certain men such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:8, 26:25, 28:13) and later to Moses (Ex. 3:15, 34:5-6).
Thus, His Name was revealed to the Hebrew people who were instructed to use it. For centuries it was freely used. But much later, religious leaders began to say it was too sacred to be spoken. They told the people to just say or read adonai (my Lord) when they came across the Sacred Name in the Scriptures.
Because of this, when vowel marks were later added to the Hebrew language, the vowel marks for adonai were inserted with the letters of the Sacred Name. This was to indicate to the people to say adonai and not the true Name Yahweh.
As a result, when translators in later years sought to translate the Scriptures into other languages, they became confused. They mixed the vowel sound for adonai with the letters of the Sacred Name and came up with “Jehovah.”
Biblical Importance of the True Name
It would seem that anyone who wants to know their Creator as their Heavenly Father would want to know His name. The Bible itself does not leave us in any doubt as to the vital importance of the Name of Yahweh.
When the true Name is put back into the pas- sages where translators substituted the words “the Lord,” the Bible makes it very clear that we should know, love, and use the Name of Yahweh.
Here are just a few examples:
*Micah 6:9, “Yahweh’s voice cries unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see Thy Name.”
*Ezekiel 39:7, “So will I make My Holy Name known in the midst of My people Israel: and I will not let them pollute My Holy Name any more; the heathen shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel.”
*Zechariah 14:9, “Yahweh will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be Yahweh, and His Name the only Name.” NIV
*Joel 2:32, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the Name of Yahweh shall be delivered [saved].”
*Exodus 20:7, “Thou shalt not take the Name of Yahweh thy Almighty One in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.” To say it is unimportant or a vain thing is certainly one way of taking it in vain.
*Malachi 3:16, “...and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared Yahweh, and that thought upon His Name.”
One further verse gives powerful evidence of the need to use this Name. That verse is Psalm 68:4 (KJV), “Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to His Name; extol Him...by His Name JAH, and rejoice before Him.” (JAH is pronounced YAH as in hallelujah.) There was no J in the original Hebrew. Write for our free booklet, “The Missing J.”
So it is very clear from Scripture that the Name of Yahweh is meant to be known and used by those who love Him.
The Name Link Between Father and Son
There is also a direct and important connection between the Name of the Almighty and the Name of His Son, our Savior.
Joseph was told by the angel: “She shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His Name Yahshua, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The name of Jesus does not have the same meaning as the name Yahshua.
Bible scholars know that our Savior was not known by the name “Jesus.” The fact that many have come to accept the person of the Savior while knowing only the name of Jesus does not make that His actual Name. He was born a He– brew, as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2, and elsewhere. But “Jesus” is not Hebrew. “Jesus” is derived from the Greek name Iesous, which is found in the Greek translations.
His Name is actually the same as Joshua, the successor of Moses. In the King James, in He– brews 4:8 and Acts 7:45, the name “Jesus” is used when speaking of Joshua. This shows that “Jesus” is being substituted for the Hebrew name Joshua. The Greek text actually has the same name Iesous for both men.
If the J in Joshua is pronounced as Y in ac– cordance with Hebrew, which has no J sound, we have nearly the correct pronunciation of the Sav- ior’s Name. But “Yoshua” does not show a con- nection with the Father’s Name. Therefore, the more correct way to write His Name in English is “Yahshua.”
Originally, Joshua was called Hoshua or Oshea, meaning “salvation” or “deliverance.” But Moses added the sacred Name to this and called him Yah-oshua, meaning “salvation of Yah” or “Yah-salvation” (Numbers 13:16).
Later, the o sound was dropped in usage and the name became shortened to Yahshua. This happened after Israel’s Babylonian captivity. The shortened form, then, was in use when the Savior of man was named in the New Testament.
At Psalm 72:17 in the well-known World Publishing Co. edition of the King James Bible, the center reference shows the original Hebrew reads as follows: “His Name shall be as a Son to continue His Father’s Name forever: and men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed.”
This is clearly a prophecy concerning the Savior. And of course, a son always bears his father’s or family name. The Savior Himself said, “ I have come in my Father’s Name…” (John 5:43).
The Messiah’s Name, Yahshua, contains the Sacred, heavenly family Name Yah: Yah-shua. He truly and literally came in His Father’s Name, as He Himself said (John 5:43). He alone is the “Salvation of Yah.”
“Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12).
This is not to say that those who have been unwillingly ignorant of His true Name have not found salvation in the person of the Savior. Yahweh is full of justice and mercy. Nevertheless, His past mercy in no way justifies continuing in error. To use the words of Acts 17:30, “The times of this ignorance Yahweh winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.”
When any truth is restored, which men’s traditions have hidden, it becomes the responsibility of His true people to walk in that truth regardless of the cost. “Therefore, to him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Origin of Substitute Names
Keep in mind that the word “Lord” is a substitute title and is not the true Name. The word “baal,” which came into Hebrew from the Babylonian language, was translated “lord.” Read these revealing verses:
*“How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies?...which think to cause My people to forget My Name...as their fathers have forgotten My Name for Baal” [that is Lord] (Jeremiah 23:26-27).
*“‘And it shall be at that day,’ says Yahweh, ‘you shall call me Ishi [my husband] and shall call Me no more Baali [my Lord]. For I will take away the names of Baalim [Lords] out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name,’” (Hosea 2:16-17). Baal (Lord) was the name the pagan Babylonians called their deity.
Incidentally, one of the names of Baal was Gad, pronounced God. This was the Baal of fortification or troops and is translated “troop” in Isaiah 65:11, a passage condemning Israel for idolatry.
According to Romans 10:13-14, Acts 2:21 and 22:16, “Whosoever shall call upon the Name of Yahweh shall be delivered [saved].” This is fulfilled by calling on the Name of Yahshua the Messiah, which contains the Father’s Name—the family Name Yah. Perhaps you already know the Savior. If so, start now to call on Him by His true Name and ask Yahweh to “take the names of Baalim [Lords] out of your mouth.”
If you are yet in your sins, having never really accepted the Savior, put your trust in Him Who died for you and Who is now living at the Father’s right hand. He will soon return to set up His Kingdom on earth. You, too, can become a child of the Most High Yahweh and an heir to eternal life. “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he that believes not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of the Almighty abides in him” (John 3:36).
How can you receive Him? “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sin, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (which is His indwelling power in your life). “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as Yahweh our Almighty One shall call” (Acts 2:38-39). See also Acts 8:12, 16, 35-36; 10:43, 48; 16:31-33; 19:4-5; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21; and Mark 16:16.
When you find salvation in the Father’s Great Name, you will truly say,