The Sacred Name Movement (SNM) is a movement within the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Christianity, propagated by Clarence Orvil Dodd, that claims to seek to conform Christianity to its “Hebrew Roots” in practice, belief and worship. The best known distinction of the SNM is its advocacy of the use of the “sacred name” Yahweh (יַהְוֶה), the reconstructed proper name of the God of Israel, and the use of the original Hebrew name of Jesus, often transcribed as Yahshua. SNM believers also generally keep many of the Old Testament Laws and ceremonies such as the Seventh-day Sabbath, Torah festivals and keeping kosher food laws.
The Sacred Name Movement has few adherents which include The Assembly of Yahweh, Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry, Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day, Yahweh’s Assembly in Messiah, Assemblies of Yahweh, Yahweh’s Frystown Assembly, and The Biblical Foundations Academy.
The English spelling Yahshua originates at least as early as 1950 in The New Testament of our Messiah and Saviour Yahshua, The Word of Yahweh and The Sacred Name King James Bible. The form Yahshua is used in some Sacred Name Bibles.
These Bibles include The New Testament of our Messiah and Saviour Yahshua, The Holy Name Bible, The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition, The Book of Yahweh: The Holy Scriptures, The Sacred Scriptures, The Family of Yah Edition, The Word of Yahweh, The Hebraic Roots Bible, The Restoration Study Bible, and The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible.
The following versions are those where either “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” is usually limited to use in the Old Testament. Unlike other Sacred Name Bibles, these are usually published by general publishers. These Bibles include Young’s Literal Translation, The American Standard Version. Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, The Bible In Basic English, The Amplified Bible, The New World Translation, The Jerusalem Bible, The Anchor Bible, The New Jerusalem Bible, The New English Bible, The Living Bible, The New Living Translation, The Holman Christian Standard Bible, and The World English Bible.
The spelling Yahshua (יהשע) is not found in Hebrew texts. The Hebrew Bible uses Yehoshua (יהושע), and later Aramaic form Yeshua (ישוע), for Joshua, which means “Yah is Salvation.” Christians, historians, and linguists outside the Sacred Name Movement for the most part reject the term Yahshua (יהשע) in favor of Yeshua (ישוע) as the original pronunciation. Tal Ilan’s Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity (2002), notes Yehoshua (יהושע), and the later Aramaic form Yeshua among many names containing Yah derived from YHWH.
An additional variant Yahshuah (Hebrew: יהשוה) is found in Christian texts. Like Yahshua this variant is not found in the Hebrew Bible. Another variant, Yesu, occurs in polemical rabbinical texts, connected with Jesus in the Talmud and is the modern Israeli secular spelling of Jesus. The spelling is not applied to other Yeshuas and Yehoshuas.
The transcription of Hebrew-alphabet Yehoshua (יהושע) as Latin-alphabet “Yahshua” is first documented during the early days of the Sacred Name Movement in the 1930s, perhaps developed by leaders such as Angelo B. Traina and C.O. Dodd.
Those who follow Sacred Name teachings (such as the Assemblies of Yahweh) believe that it is an aid to salvation to use the correct pronunciation. Unfortunately, this is worked based savation and cannot provide salvation to anyone.
- For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)
“Yahshua” supporters teach that since the Messiah will “come in his Father’s Name” (John 5:43), then he must have the name of Yahweh, or at least the abbreviated form (Yah) in his spoken name. Another popular contraction is Yah’shua with the apostrophe serving as a division to emphasise the “Yah” aspect of the name and the Hebrew shua (salvation), found in the Natural Israelite Bible.
Critics say that in their labor to get the pronunciation “Yahshua” out of יהושע, they are ignoring Hebrew linguistics that do not allow the ‘waw’ to be silent, so “Yahshua” is a questioned translation. Furthermore, it is argued by some that this pronunciation is not attested in antiquity, unlike the pronunciation “Yehoshua.”
The first group to use Yahshuah: as a name for Jesus were Renaissance Occultists. In the second half of the 16th century, when knowledge of Biblical Hebrew first began to spread among a significant number of Christians, certain esoterically minded or occultistic circles came up with the idea of deriving the Hebrew name of Jesus by adding the Hebrew letter shin ש into the middle of the Tetragrammaton divine name “yod-he-waw-he” (יהוה) to produce the form “yod-he-shin-waw-he” (יהשוה). Aleister Crowley used both the names Yahshuah and Yahshua through his occult writings, divinations and conjurings.
You are free to pray to and worship who you want. I will continue to pray to God (YHWH) through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Yeshua, Yehoshua). The names Yahshuah and Yahshua have no devine meaning to me and certainly never will.