Names of God: YHWH

Names of God

Name/Attribute/Meaning: I AM; the self-existent, eternal God

Transliteration: YHWH, Jehovah, sometimes GOD (Genesis 15:2)

First Place the Name appears: Genesis 2:4

The Hebrew names Elohim and Adonai are applied to other Semitic deities but YHWH is unique to the God of the Bible. This name is often referred to as the tetragrammaton (Latin for four letters) and sometimes called the “personal name” of the Hebrew God. In English translations, YHWH is translated as the LORD with all capitals as compared to Adonai which is translated the Lord with only the first letter capitalized (Lord) Early Hebrew did not have vowel markers which were added later by the Masoretes to assist in reading. Scribes believed the name reflected by the Tetragrammaton to be so holy that it was never spoken aloud and a new writing utensil was employed, the word written, the utensil broken and not used again. Such reverence has actually caused the true pronunciation to be lost.

In order to further protect the name YHWH they began writing it with the vowels from Adonai creating YAHOWAH but continued to pronounce Adonai. When the first English translators encountered Jahowah they did not realize it was an artificial construct and transliterated it into English as Jehovah. The current English pronunciation of the YHWH is derived from simply adding the vowels “a” and “e” between the consonants of the Tetragrammaton to make it pronounceable and is interchangeable with Jehovah in compound names. Conservative Jewish tradition still does not read it aloud or use the transliterated version of Yahweh. (See Bible Project video about YHWH)

The revelation of this name to Moses was based on the Hebrew verb “to be” and is found in Exodus 3:14 when the LORD reveals Himself to Moses in the burning bush. The name “Elohim” is used in relation to creation throughout the first chapter of Genesis. In Genesis 2:4 the name YHWH is introduced in conjunction with Elohim (LORD God) in relation to the creation and relationship to humanity. Moses, the traditional author of the Torah, first five books of the Bible, would therefore have made the decision to insert the personal, relational name of God in Genesis 2.

Tell them that I AM sent you. He defies description yet allows us a glimpse of His Glory in this revelation of Himself.

YHWH is often used as the first part of compound descriptive names for God. It is easier to describe what God is not than to do justice to what HE IS…

All of His attributes modify each other perfectly. He is both mercifully just and justly merciful.

This is difficult to understand but allows us to glimpse the enormity of identifying God. 



YOU ARE… What an incredible blessing it is to be able to turn to YOU!  To be able to know YOU on any level is an incredible gift but for YOU to choose to reveal YOURSELF to us and desire a relationship with us is beyond comprehension!

Thank YOU for reaching out to us and help us to never take this relationship for granted! To know YOU and be known by YOU is a priceless treasure!

Help us to continue to build on the foundation YOU have provided and seek to know YOU better in every area of our lives!

In Jesus’ Holy Name we pray, ~ Amen


Names of God: YHWH Rapha

Musings, Names of God

The Lord who heals.  Our world is in such desperate need of healing today. There is so much sickness of body, mind, and spirit all around us.  I had planned to start this series on the Old Testament Names of God with a different Name but felt the Holy Spirit leading me, as HE often does, away from my plan and encouraging me to follow His instead!

YHWH Rapha is a compound name for God. 

YHWH is the English transliteration of the four Hebrew consonants which were revealed to Moses by God at Mt Sinai. This name first occurs in Genesis 2:4 but the story of how Moses, traditional author of the Torah, came to know it is found in Exodus 3:13-15. It is often called the Tetragrammaton and is related the Hebrew verb hayah, “to be”. The Bible Project has a terrific video explaining how this personal name for the God of the Israelites has been represented throughout history. The English word “Jehovah” is often substituted or “LORD” in all capital letters.  More on this later.

Rapha is a name based on the Hebrew verb “to heal”.   

This name is first introduced in Exodus 15:26 when the LORD is teaching the Israelites not only about His Character but important aspects of their own character as well.  He reveals Himself as their Healer.  Their need for Him is revealed in what they lacked.

There are foreshadows of Christ throughout the Old Testament and especially in the wilderness story.  In the next three chapters, God made the water sweet, provided bread from heaven and water from a rock. Provision is made in the face of need.  In Numbers 21:4-9 the story of the Bronze Serpent is another example of the foreshadowing of Christ and divine healing of the people in the wilderness.

The prophet Malachi speaks of healing in chapter 4, verse 2 as taking place on the great day of the Lord.

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

The connection of this healing with the Messiah, Jesus Christ, seems most evident, for me personally, in the miracle of the woman with the bleeding disorder.  Recorded in three of the four gospels, Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48, it is a powerful story of a desperate desire to be made well.  The woman believed that she needed only touch the hem of Jesus’ garment to be healed. 

Have you ever wondered why she thought this? 

Matthew 14 speaks of others healed simply by touching His clothing but look back into Malachi 4:2.  The Hebrew word translated as “wing” is kanaph which can be like the wing of a bird but can also mean the extremity of a garment.  The edge of the Jewish prayer garment worn by most observant Jewish men was referred to as the wing. It is not a great stretch to believe that this woman believed Jesus to be the promised Messiah and hoped for healing from touching the hem of his robe.  She would receive the healing she desired that day but the healing she truly needed would not come until Jesus stretched out his arms on the cross and died for her sin. 

Like the Israelites in the desert, she had endured her wilderness and realized her need for healing.  How often sickness brings us to the end of ourselves and turns our gaze heavenward.  We desire a respite from our suffering but the LORD our Healer, YHWH Rapha, desires so much more.  He desires to heal not only our body but our mind and soul as well. He desires for us to be reconciled to Him and each other in righteousness.

It is possible for Him to bring healing in the short term but we have to trust that even if He does not it is because He has a greater plan for His Glory and our good.  This is a hard truth which resides in the necessary tension which exists in the realm between the finite and the Infinite. Learning to live with this tension protects us from oversimplifying what is and must remain beyond our ability to understand.  If it “all makes sense” to us then we probably have it wrong. 

I do not know what ailment you face but I know that YHWH Rapha loves you and desires that you come to know Him for who He really is and accept Jesus as Savior. Click this link you would like more information on how that is possible.



YOU ARE Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, and we call on YOUR NAME for the physical healing of those suffering around us here at years’ end. So much of YOUR Character is revealed to us, like the name Jehovah Rapha, while in times of wilderness wandering. So often we cannot understand why YOU allow the trials and struggles in our lives but YOU never fail to be near to us when we call upon YOU!

I pray for the physical healings that are necessary but also for the healing of hearts and minds that may only be achieved in times of forced rest and weary calm. I pray for each of us to know YOU better but realize that may only be possible as we weather the storms that we are facing. I pray for families struggling with the loss of loved ones and even for relationships lost when the people are still very much alive but in conflict. We seek YOUR LIGHT in our darkness and reach out to touch YOU knowing that healing comes to those who revere YOUR NAME!