Yahweh or Yahveh. Meaning & Identity of God’s Name
Yahweh or Yahveh. What is essential is to understand the meaning of the Name of God and His relationship to humankind, you and me.
Yahweh or Yahveh is used to describe God throughout Genesis 2, whereas Genesis 1 only mentions Elohim. Who is this Yahweh? What does this striking change signify? God is the central figure of the narrative. If we can’t understand Him and His purpose, how can we proceed?
With Genesis 2:3 and the seventh day comes the end of Creation Week. Earth has been restored and repopulated. Male and female have been created in the image of God. They have been married (blessed) by God and told the multiply and subdue, in other words, to establish relationships and rulership. The chapter culminates with the Creation of humans on Day 6 and their relationship with God on Day 7. God laid the overall framework of His intended plan.
In Genesis 2, the Bible takes this culmination of God creating, humans, and His relationship with them and highlights some of the important details. These elements are the basis for the comprehension of the rest of what God is both accomplishing with humankind and on Earth at this present time.
Genesis chapters 1–3 come under some scathing criticism, and jeering scorn by many who believe that this is misinformation or worse to feed the people lies to control their minds. Others believe that because of the different grammatical approaches and writing styles, there are various authors. Still, others believe this was written for gullible Israelites in a language for their epoch and has nothing to do with us today. Even Bible readers scratch their heads in quizzical wonderment at these enigmatic passages. Theologians and authors never cease to comment on these chapters. Go over to Amazon and type in Genesis 1 to find dozens of works from all angles, dishing out the pros and cons of the value of these scriptures.
The Explanation refers to none of them. This work is not based on any translation of these chapters. It does use the King James Version and brings you comprehension in English. However, the original Biblical Hebrew is the foundation for The Explanation; this includes some cultural practices of the time of the authorship. However, Genesis 1–3 and the rest of the Bible are not epoch specific. It is the story of humankind from its inception (Genesis 1–3) through to the end of humankind (Revelation 22). Yes, there is a final chapter to humanity, but that’s far from being the end of the book. That said, let’s not get ahead of the story.
Genesis 2 is one of the most revealing chapters in the Bible. Let me say clearly that without the fundamental comprehension of this chapter, you cannot understand the basics. As I point out in How Humankind Reasons (Audit of the Universe, chapter 14), scholars in all fields of learning, including anthropology and psychology, be they scientists, theologians, or philosophers are in hot debate and total disagreement about what constitutes a human being and how they function.
You might think I’m crazy to say this, but it’s because the erudite don’t understand the basic information of Genesis 2. I forewarn you that to read this; you are going to need a clear mind. You’re going to need to ride your worldview of some of the clutter you’ve accumulated. You’re going to have to rebuild from the foundation up. The information here is based on Biblical Hebrew and the 7 keys to unlock meaning from the original language of the Bible. Biblewide texts corroborate this knowledge of Genesis 2. Whether you’re a Bible reader or scholar or not, most of this read will be new to you. Let’s get started.
We already saw God, the male, and female and some of their interactivity. Genesis 2 reveals necessary complementary information about who God is and what makes humans human. How do humans function? Why did God place humans on earth? These are some of the most fundamental questions we battle with and even fight over. Surely a manufacturer lets you know why they developed their product. What it’s for and how to use it. Why did God create male and female? And give them a unique Earthly environment? Why did He put them immediately in the Garden of Eden, only to expel them shortly after that?
Genesis 2 gives us answers to all those questions. Genesis 1 gave us an overall 7-day creation basis. Genesis 2 takes us inside Day 6 and 7; this is not just a behind the scenes gander, but rather a detailed flashback, like in a movie. A closeup zoom-in to enhance the story. It’s the personal story of God’s encounter with His two directly created humans. We are privy to intimate details of their Creation, we’re in the delivery room. We catch the central points of their first conversations, and even their most private thoughts, reasonings, and behavior. It’s all recorded here to put you and me on the right track as to why the world? What is happening on Earth? How humanity functions. We’re setting the stage that all humankind has played on down through the ages, the same stage you and I are playing on at the beginning of the 21st century. Wherever you live around the world, whatever you believe, whoever you are.
Understand Genesis 2 and 3, and you will have The Explanation. All the rest of the Bible is simply the amplification of these initial conversations and actions. It’s the Biblewide corroboration and detailed explanation. The rest of the Bible is composed of historical, present-day, and future experiences and instruction. Its prose, poetic, and prophetic form reveal the elusive whys, wherefores, and whatnots of the peace and prosperity planet Earth desires. It explains why, despite all the scientific, philosophical, governmental, and religious know-how at its disposal, humanity is not, and cannot reach this noble goal.
Genesis chapters 2 and 3 answer all the big questions in life. I shall explain them in great detail. They are, in my opinion, one of the most crucial and thrilling contexts in world literature for the comprehension of God, our society, and their relationship.
These two chapters, starting in Genesis 2:4, have a different tone than chapter 1.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations (H8435 toldot, plural) of the heavens and of the earth when they were created (H1254 bara), in the day that the LORD (H3068 YAHWEH or YAHVEH) God made (H6213) the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD (H3068) God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
In Genesis 2.4, the story flashes back to its parallel verse in Genesis 1:1 with a couple of major differences. In Gen. 1:1 it is referring to the Big Bang Creation, 13.8 billion years ago, which includes that of Earth, 4.5 billion years ago. Whereas in Gen. 2:1, it says generations (plural) as well as adding two verbs: bara-create and asa-made for earth and heavens. The made refers to the makeover of the Earth and Heavens about 6000 years ago. We could call this another generation or a re-generation of Earth and Heavens. There will be yet a further major makeover — generation — of Earth and Heavens in the future (Revelation 21:1).
Firstly, Genesis 2 focuses explicitly on detailed aspects of Days 6 and 7 of the Creation about 6000 years ago. This chapter is about those first hours of God, the male, and the female in the Garden of Eden.
The second major difference is the name of the Creator. In Gen. 1:1, it is God — Elohim. From Gen. 2:4 onward, it is LORD God — YAHWEH Elohim. In chapter one, only Elohim is used 34 times. From chapter 2:4 LORD GOD, YAHWEH Elohim is exclusively used 11 times. Look at these verses, Gen 2:5, 7, 8, 15, 16, etc. Why this change of nomination of God?
Who is YAHWEH?
Genesis 1 gives a global approach to Creation, whereas Gen 2 and 3 concentrate on the personal, down to earth details. We learn the names of the male and female (Gen. 4:1), and we see their interaction with God, who is also named: YAHWEH Elohim. Chapter 1 gives a synthesis of Creation, (God created them male and female). By contrast, chapters 2 and 3 give exhaustive details about their Creation and the intimate interpersonal relationships between YAHWEH and Adam and Eve. I’ll tell you right now, the spiritual implications of these two chapters will blow you away.
Here’s the Biblical Hebrew root and meaning of YAHWEH or YAHVEH.
יְהֹוָה Yᵉhôvâh yeh-ho-vaw’; from H1961 (הָיָה); (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God:
KJV — Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050 (יָהּ), H3069 (יְהֹוִה).
הָיָה hâyâh haw-yaw; a primitive root (compare H1933 (הָוָא)); to exist, i.e., be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary):
KJV — beacon, ⨯ altogether, be(-come), accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), do, faint, fall, + follow, happen, ⨯ have, last, pertain, quit (one-) self, require, ⨯ use.
YAHWEH, translated in English by the term LORD, derives from the verb to be. The translation LORD has no relation to the Hebrew meaning whatsoever. One of the 7 keys to understanding Biblical Hebrew is that names have a meaning. A name describes and defines the person that carries that name. God is the Lord, but that has nothing to do with this name, YAHWEH. The pronunciation is generally YAHVEH (the first letter, the ‘יְ’ (yod) is pronounced ‘y’ and the fourth letter ‘וָ’ (vav) is pronounced ‘v’). Over time and geographical location, the pronunciation can differ (UK and USA English have the same vocabulary but different pronunciation. Even so, within the UK and USA). However, the utmost importance is the meaning.
Designated by this name YAHWEH / YAHVEH, the critical characteristic is His Eternity. He IS in the past; He IS in the present; He IS in the future. He has always BEEN in the past. He is BEING in the present. He will BE in the future.
God Himself, in discussion with Moses, gives us the certitude that YAHVEH is one of the NAMES of the GOD. It could very well be His key name. Look at this confirmation in Exodus.
13 And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them?
14 And God said to Moses, I AM (H1961) THAT I AM (H1961): and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
15 And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, The LORD (H3068) God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever (H5769, everlasting), and this is my memorial (H2143, remembrance) to all generations (H1755, age, posterity).
the LORD God of Creation, the LORD who specifically creates Adam and Eve and interrelates with them, is named I AM or more simply AM; the added descriptives confirm this in verse 15. I AM their father, I AM forever, I AM the memorial, I AM with all generations. I know that verse 15 does not say that. However, the ideas and word pictures tell us exactly that story.
I AM is הָיָה hâyâh (H1961) in verse 14, which is the root of LORD (3068) in verse 15. It is clear the I AM, and the LORD God are the same; this is the ETERNAL God. AM refers to God ETERNAL, no beginning, no end.
YAHVEH, I AM and JESUS CHRIST
We now have a NAME for the God who performed the Creation about 6000 years ago. Let’s go a step further and see with whom Adam and Eve are going to be interrelating. Who is YAHWEH Elohim, I AM, the ETERNAL God? Go over to John 1. This chapter precisely parallels Gen. 1–3. The two go hand in hand and give us a multitude of explanations.
John 1:1–5, 17
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
This context reveals another Name of God. Here He is called the Word. Verse 3 singles out the Word as the Creator of ALL things. The WORD is, therefore,
- The Creator in Genesis 1:1.
- Verse 4 states the WORD has life inherent and therefore is Eternal. See Further study below.
- The WORD is also the light of humans
- He is the shining light in the darkness; this is the spiritual light paralleled by the Creation of natural light on Day 1 of Creation week.
Verse 17 identifies The WORD as Jesus Christ, YAHVEH of Gen 2:4 is the One who is the Word and who came as Jesus some 2000 years ago.
Genesis chapters 2–3 reveal the very personal, literally hands-on relationship between the Eternal God and the first earthy male and female.
By now, you know how to use the Bible study tools over at UnlockBibleMeaning.com easily. I will point out the deeper meaning of some words to plunge you into the Biblical context. For further details on the meanings of these words, check them out for yourselves. The generations (H8435 toldot, plural). An excellent exercise is to find corroborative Bible texts. Remember, we’re assembling ALL the pieces (Bible, historical, spiritual, human, psychological…) to obtain coherent completeness. Everything must fit snugly together with no loose ends.
Do a word for word study of Exodus 3:15, …this is my name for ever (H5769, everlasting), and this is my memorial (H2143, remembrance) to all generations (H1755, age, posterity).
Using Strong’s Hebrew Concordance at the bottom of generations: H1755, you can find corroborating Bible verses like Psalms 10:6 … never (H1755) be in adversity; this refers to the infinite future of I AM.
John 1:1, In the beginning, was the Word… could be interpreted as if there was a beginning for the Word. Well, In Hebrews 7:3 the Word carries yet another name, and there it states
Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
The beginning of John is referring to the beginning of God’s plan, whether it be for spiritual beings or humans beings or both. I’m not privy to that information.
Look at Revelation 1:8, where the Word carries two other names; I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
The first name is Alpha and Omega, and the second, Almighty. Notice …which is, which was, which is to come; present, past, future. Notice the beginning of Rev. 1:8 verse, I AM. Many names and many attributes identify YAHVEH, a key one being His Eternity.
This article is an excerpt from chapter 2.6 of the book Origin of Humankind.
You can read all of the book Origin of Humankind online. Sam blogs weekly at TheExplanation.com The Explanation masters Biblical Hebrew to help you unlock more in-depth Bible meaning. Free tools to read and study the Bible online