What Is God's Name?

Name: Antonio Gonzalez
Question: Hello Brandon,

Can you explain God's sacred name, I AM THAT I AM and how it became YHVH?

Answer: Antonio, thank you for the question.

We are going to learn, God's name is Jehovah in English, and Yehovah in Hebrew.

When you said YHVH, that is the name of God in the Tetragram, also spelled YHWH by some Christians. We are going to discuss all of this in detail, including I AM THAT I AM.

All right, let’s get started.

The LORD Is Jehovah, I AM THAT I AM

We are going to turn to the book of Exodus. There we find God appearing to Moses as a burning bush. God tells Moses, he will be the man to guide the Israelites out of Egypt, all under God's lead.

This is where we will begin reading.

Please turn your Bible with me to,

Exodus 3:13
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

Notice, Moses posed two questions to God that he anticipated the Israelites will ask him.

  • What is His (God's) name?
  • What shall I say unto them?

God will answer both questions, but in reverse order.

Read carefully.

Exodus 3:14
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Notice, God answers the second question first.

God did not say His name was I AM.

God simply said, ‘I AM THAT I AM, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM’ sent me to you. Moses was to tell the Israelites, the God of their fathers is I AM. Meaning, God is everything, and whatever He chooses to be, in this case, even a burning bush.

Later in this study, we will discuss this title further.

Let’s see what God says in the very next verse.

Exodus 3:15
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Now, God addresses and answers the first question Moses asked.

God said His name is, ‘The LORD, this is my name for ever’.

We should understand, the word “LORD” in all uppercase is the Hebrew word H3068 from the Strong's Concordance, (see: How To Use Bible Study Tools). It means; Jehovah in English, and Yehovah, or YHVH in Hebrew.

We will prove that in a moment.

First, let’s see what else God told Moses.

God's Name Is Jehovah, YHVH

God told Moses twice that His name is Jehovah.

Let’s read the second instance.

Exodus 6:3
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

Those were God's own words.

God said His name is Jehovah.

Further, in Psalms 83:18 we are told, the name of God “alone is JEHOVAH” (YHVH).

So let there be no doubt in your mind what God's name is.

Now some Christians will claim we should not say Jehovah as there is no “J” in the Hebrew language. Yet, no one ever has a problem saying, “Jacob”, “Joshua” or “Jerusalem”. So let's not get caught up on translations. Different languages have different letters, that's not a big deal.

I do want to note, while the word Jehovah only appears four times in the King James Bible, it was translated as “LORD” over 5,500 times! So anytime you see the word “LORD” in all uppercase in the Old Testament, it actually means Jehovah (YHVH).

Now let’s look up God's name together.

God's Name In Hebrew

Go ahead and look up the word “Jehovah” in the Strong’s Concordance.

There it explains,

יְהוָֹה

yehôvâh

yeh-ho-vaw'

From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God: - Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050, H3069.

That is the Hebrew definition for Jehovah.

  • God's name in Hebrew is “Yehôvâh”.
  • We pronounce it as “yeh-ho-vaw’”.
  • It means “the self Existent or eternal; Jehovah” in English.

So “Yehovah” (YHVH) is God's Hebrew name, and “Jehovah” is the English translation.

The Tetragram Is YHVH Not YHWH

You will notice, I placed the letters YHVH that form God's name in bold red text. That’s actually the Tetragram (Tetragrammaton), the four letters that make up His name.

Now more often than not, you will hear Christians say God's name is Yahweh or YHWH with the W instead of the V. However, that is not accurate as we can see from the Hebrew spelling in the Strong's Concordance.

Nevertheless, we are going to translate God's name from Hebrew into English together.

In order to do that, we have to understand how each Hebrew letter correlates to the English alphabet.

Learning God's Name In Hebrew

Did you notice, in the Strong’s definition above, God's name in Hebrew writing?

The Hebrew letters look like this, יְהוָֹה.

We are going to identify each Hebrew letter so you can spell God's name yourself, and further prove it’s Yehovah YHVH, and not Yehoweh YHWH in Hebrew.

The image below comes from my Strong's Concordance.

I highlighted the Hebrew consonants and vowel points of God's name (יְהוָֹה) for you. As we move forward, just remember, Hebrew reads from right to left.

YHVH using the Strong’s Concordance
Figure 1: Hebrew Alphabet from the Strong’s Concordance

Now let’s walk through this together.

The consonants that make up God's name are YHVH and the vowels are e, ô, â. Reference the Hebrew alphabet image above for this information.

If we strip the vowel points from God's name (יְהוָֹה), we just have the Hebrew letters יהוה - without any markings above or below those letters.

Let’s break down each Hebrew letter into the English equivelant.

EnglishHebrewLetter Name
Y=יYowd
H=הHe
V=וVav
H=הHe
Reference the red and blue highlighted sections in figure 1 above.

There we have the Tetragram, the four Hebrew constants that form God's name, YHVH.

Now we are going to add the vowel points which completes His name in Hebrew.

The Hebrew consonants, including the vowel points now form the Hebrew word יְהוָֹה.

Notice the additional “points” we have over and under the Hebrew consonants?

Those are the vowels points.

Now, let’s put together God's name in English using the complete Hebrew word יְהוָֹה.

EnglishHebrewLetter / Vowel Name
Ye=יְYowd, Sheva
H=הHe
ôVâ=וָֹChowlem, Vav, Qamets
H=הHe
Reference the red and blue highlighted sections in figure 1 above.

There we have it, God's name in Hebrew is Yehôvâh (Yehovah, YHVH).

Now that you understand how to identify the Hebrew consonants and vowels...

How about another image to help bring it all together?

God's name YHVH with Hebrew letters and vowel points

Now we have the complete name of God; Jehovah in English and Yehôvâh (Yehovah, YHVH) in Hebrew.

But what about I AM THAT I AM?

I AM THAT I AM In Hebrew

I want to explain a little more about that.

Remember what God told Moses?

He said, I AM THAT I AM.

As we learned, that is not God's name, He was making a statement about Himself.

“I AM” is Hebrew word H1961, which is the root word for Jehovah (H3068). You might have noticed that in the Strong’s Concordance example above, as H3068 is from H1961.

So think about this...

  • “I AM” means, “to exist” and to “be” in the sense of existence itself.
  • “THAT” means, “who, which, what, whose”, etc.

When we put this together, God told Moses,

I AM existence, and all existence comes from Me. I AM everything who created everything.

Further,

  • Jehovah means, “self existent or eternal”.

God's self existence is eternal.

Jehovah “liveth for ever and ever”, He is “everlasting”, and has “made all things for Himself”, (Rev 10:6,  Is 40:28, Pro 16:4).

That is why God told us,

“There is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal... For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever”.

Deuteronomy 32:39

God is existence, whose existence brought about everything.

A thought and phrase that is even rooted within His very name.

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