Jesus Quotes the Old Testament
As he taught the people, Jesus often quoted from the Old Testament. He quoted the Old Testament to the adversary when he was tempted. He sometimes quoted it when the Jewish sects and leaders accosted him. On one occasion at a synagogue in Nazareth he read aloud from the writings of Isaiah.
Some of the passages Jesus quoted from the Old Testament were cited directly from the writings. Few of these quotations could be considered verbatim. It is probable some were paraphrases of the actual writings. Perhaps some were quoted from paraphrased sources such as the Targums.1
Whether direct quotations or paraphrases, a number of the Old Testament passages from which Jesus’ quotations ultimately came have the four-letter name of God in the Hebrew text. These quotations are the focal point of one faucet of the sacred name teaching that Jesus said the name Yahweh. Therefore, these quotations are the subject of this fifth part of the study.
The position taken by some sacred name teachers is that Jesus would have quoted the Old Testament passages verbatim.2 Having him make verbatim quotations is an attempt to affirm and protect their doctrine and is exactly the stance one would expect these teachers to take. All sacred name teachers affirm that Jesus uttered some pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton when he made these quotations. This stance is an attempt to safeguard the sacred name movement insistence that ever person is obligated to call God by the name Yahweh.
A review of some of these quotations will demonstrate whether the sacred name doctrinal claims are true. According to the Scriptures, Jesus did not say the name Yahweh when he quoted the Old Testament. The Scriptures show that he avoided speaking this name when he made these quotations.
Jesus Read From Isaiah
Luke records the details of the occasion upon which Jesus came to the synagogue he had attended as a child. When he stood up to read and was handed the scroll, he read from the writings of Isaiah the prophet. He also commented upon the prophecy.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
In the Hebrew text of Isaiah, the verses Jesus read have the Tetragrammaton three times. Below are Isaiah’s words from The Jewish Publication Society’s English translation of the Hebrew text. So that no mistake should be made about what Jesus did here, please note the underlined words in the quotation. These are the words that this Jewish rendering of the text puts for the Tetragrammaton.
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the humble; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the eyes to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s good pleasure. (Isaiah 61:1-2 The Massoretic Text of The Old Testament, The Jewish Publication Society of America.)
Another look at Luke’s record of this event will serve to focus on the words Jesus spoke as he read. Luke being a meticulous writer, without doubt thoroughly investigated this incident and then wrote under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is unlikely Luke made a mistake regarding what Jesus said in Nazareth that day in the synagogue as he read from Isaiah.
In the quotation below, a blank and two underlines are inserted to show how Jesus’ reading differed from the commonly accepted Hebrew text in use today. We cannot know what text he was reading.
The Spirit of the Lord [a]is upon me, because [b]he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of [c]the Lord.
The underlines show how Jesus handled the three times the Tetragrammaton is found in the Hebrew text. In the first instance [a], Jesus made no notice of the Tetragrammaton. He read as though it were not in the text. In the second [b], he replaces the Tetragrammaton with the pronoun he. Finally [c], Jesus simply voices the commonly accepted first century Jewish reference to the Creator, replacing the Tetragrammaton with the Lord.
It is probable the Isaiah text Jesus had before him as he read was very much the same as the text we have today. Jesus chose to reveal God’s will to us by not voicing the Tetragrammaton. Instead of denying what Jesus did, sacred name teachers should accept the fact that he did not read the name Yahweh at this synagogue. They should further realize that the pattern laid down by Jesus is the one his true disciples will continue to follow. As always, it is necessary to encourage sacred name converts to just believe the written Word of God.
The doctrine of the sacred name will not permit its teachers to accept what is written in the New Testament. The New Testament contradicts the doctrine. Contradict is too mild a word. The New Testament destroys the sacred name doctrine.
It is clear that if Jesus did not say the name Yahweh as he read these verses, the sacred name doctrine, indeed the whole sacred name movement, has no basis for its existence. Therefore, sacred name teachers muster their courage and hastily deny that the New Testament as we have it is the Word of God. They had rather deny the authority of the New Testament than to deny their doctrine.
Any serious study of the sacred name doctrine comes down to consideration of the authority of the New Testament. Truth seekers always accept the New Testament as God’s Word. Sacred name teachers always deny the validity of the New Testament. Read an open letter to a sacred name teacher regarding his Denial of the New Testament.
Invalidate the New Testament
When the sacred name advocate comes face to face with his nemesis, the New Testament, he is compelled to go either of two ways. He can choose to deny the sacred name doctrine or he can choose to deny the validity of the New Testament. But, he cannot have both the New Testament and his doctrine. These are mutually exclusive.
One and all, sacred name teachers and their converts have become willing to say the New Testament is wrong. They are forced to confess that indeed they believe it is an invalid book.
Some sacred name converts take a pen and mark through New Testament words not to their liking and write in words they prefer. This can be said of words like Lord, God, and the name Jesus in particular. In many cases when Jesus says Lord or God, sacred name people replace these words with Yahweh. Others, as they read, will disregard the words written by the apostles of Jesus and voice their own words. Some completely remake the New Testament according to the specifications of their doctrine. Please check the Sacred Name Bible Review Page.
For sacred name people, the New Testament as it exists is not a book to be depended upon for instruction in matters that affect eternal life. Were it not for the words of sacred name teachers themselves, the foregoing statement might be thought of as an exaggeration. Below are presented two witnesses from among sacred name teachers. One is a missionary to India. The other is the leader of a well known know sacred name group. They freely express their opinion concerning how much confidence should be placed in what the New Testament says.
“If you are basing the foundation of your faith on the Greek New Testament I will have to say that is a very flimsy foundation.”3
"Therefore, until the original documents [of the New Testament] are unearthed we must base all doctrine on the Old Testament.”4
Such is the concept adopted by those who are willing to accept the sacred name doctrine. They are compelled by their doctrine to believe the New Testament is filled with error. According to the judgment of sacred name teachers, ones system of faith and practice cannot be based on the New Testament. They have accepted for themselves the dichotomy of being Old Testament Christians.5 Furthermore, they rejoice to have it so.
Real Bible exegesis is done the other way around. Truth seekers accept the New Testament writings as God breathed. No seeker of truth would attempt to find errors in the New Testament based on what a particular doctrine says. Errors in a particular doctrine should be searched for based on what the New Testament says. The low esteem sacred name teachers have for the New Testament is especially repugnant to all New Covenant believers.
To the degree they have questioned and renounced the inspiration of the New Testament, sacred name teachers have unwittingly or perhaps not so unwittingly followed the lead of modern day liberal bible scholars. They are accepting the rot and theories of men like those of the Jesus Seminar. These scholars are not Bible believing teachers. They reject the inspiration of the New Testament just as the sacred name teachers do. These scholars imagine – not unlike sacred name teachers – that they have the ability “by their collective expertise to determine the authenticity of the more that 1,500 sayings of Jesus”6 in the gospels. These men throw out most of what Jesus said as made up by the gospel writers. They, like sacred name teachers, think they have been able to determine what Jesus really said.7 One who regards Jesus as the author of eternal salvation, cannot mix the theories of such men with Bible believing worship.
Sacred name teachers cannot get around the written word. They are quite able to walk on eggs while denying the New Covenant scriptures, but they are not able to obscure what is written. The written Word is only obscured for those who are inclined to read and believe the doctrinally biased sacred name revisions of the Scriptures.
On the other hand, most people in the sacred name movement accept the New Testament as valid when it is convenient for their purposes to do so. The movement in general rejects the New Testament where the names Yahweh and Yahshua are not found, where Paul scolds them for Torah [law] keeping as a means to salvation, and where one or another of their teachings is contradicted.
These sacred name teachers promote the theory that over the centuries the New Testament has been corrupted by tampering. They claim the name Yahweh has been systematically removed from the New Testament and other words substituted for it.
No Proof of New Testament Tampering
When he read from Isaiah, had Jesus actually pronounced the Tetragrammaton, Luke would not have let it pass unnoticed. In his narration of these events Luke would have recorded the hue and cry such a departure from conventional practice would have caused among those Galilean Jews. The fact there was no such mention made shows Jesus did not depart from the normally accepted way of reading the name. Luke recorded Jesus’ words precisely as he read them.
The disturbance in the synagogue at Nazareth on the day Jesus read from Isaiah arose because Jesus said he was the fulfillment of the very prophecy he had read. This indicated that he was the anointed one. That is what upset those Galilean Jews. They knew that if he were the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words, he would then be the Messiah come to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. They could only see him as Joseph’s son whose family live in the neighborhood. That enraged them. As if that were not enough, he further had the audacity to compare himself to both Elijah and Elisha.
Luke records that it was when he said “these things” and when all those in the synagogue “heard these things” that they “ were filled with wrath” and seizing him forced him out of the city, and would have thrown him off a hill to kill him. Luke gives no indication that this state of affairs was caused by Jesus saying the name Yahweh. It was caused by his laying claim to the messiahship and the Jews thought they knew better. But sacred name teachers do not care what the Bible says. They have already decided the Bible is in error. They say it was because Jesus said the name Yahweh that these rebels wanted to kill Jesus. Again, these teachers are found knowing more than the Bible knows.
The fact that Jesus did not say Yahweh as he read forever seals the doom of the sacred name doctrine. This presents a major problem for sacred name teachers. They attempt to solve this problem by asserting that the true reading was removed. The text has been corrupted, they cry. Quite pointedly, they deny the words of the New Testament.
Nothing can mollify their denial of the Scriptures. The more Bible they are given, the more Bible they deny. The fact that Peter declares the Word to be incorruptible8 has no noticeable effect on these teachers. Sacred name teachers think he did not know what he was talking about.
Of course, they are unable to show from historical records when this tampering with the New Testament occurred or who did the tampering. The tampering exists only in the desire and in the imagination of sacred name teachers. Nor are they able to tell how more than five thousand Greek New Testament manuscripts spread over hundreds of thousands of square miles in a large number of countries could have all been tampered with. Not a single one having the Tetragrammaton exists today.
But, be warned. The movement’s reworked versions of the scriptures, all eight or nine of them, have put the name Yahweh or some other version of the Tetragrammaton in the mouth of Jesus as he read from Isaiah. They need Yahweh to be there and they have made it be there. By inserting the name Yahweh into the Scriptures, sacred name teachers graphically demonstrate how they reject and deny the validity of the New Testament.
Reject as they will and deny as they must, the truth remains intact after the sacred name bible reviser makes his assault on the biblical record. When Jesus read from Isaiah, if he was reading from a text similar to the one in existence today, he encountered YHWH three times. As has been stated previously, in the first instance, he said nothing where the Isaiah scroll had YHWH. Second, he said “he” where the scroll had YHWH. Finally, Jesus said “the Lord” instead of voicing the name Yahweh as he read the Scriptures in his home synagogue.
Jesus handled the Tetragrammaton in this variety of ways. These variations are not the work of some copyist, as is claimed by sacred name teachers. This is a true record of what Jesus said. Luke recorded it for future generations. God’s Word has spoken. The world in general and the sacred name teacher in particular will remain silent before it.
Other Quotations From the Old Testament
Below is a list of occasions when Jesus quotes from the Old Testament writings. Certainly there are a number of others. But in this study, the focus is on those occasions when the verses he referred to contain the four letter name of God. The instances given are not meant to be an exhaustive list. However, it cannot pass unnoticed that in each of these instances the New Testament reveals how Jesus avoided saying the name Yahweh.
|1.||Luke 4: 18-19||Jesus reads Isaiah 61: 1-2|
|Quotes Deuteronomy 8:3|
|Quotes Deuteronomy 6:16|
|Quotes a mix of Deuteronomy 6:13 & 10:20|
|5.||Matthew 22: 44
[Mark 12:36 and
|Quotes Psalms 110:1|
Mark 12: 10-11
|Quotes Psalms 118: 22-23|
|7.||Mark 12:29-30||Quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-5|
|8.||Luke 4:12||Quotes Deuteronomy 6:16
|9.||Luke 10:27 etc||The lawyer quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart..."|
[Matthew 23: 39]
|Quotes Psalms 118: 26|
|11.||Matthew 5:33||Lev19:12 A paraphrase, not a quote at all. Lev. has God, Jesus said Lord.|
It should be emphasized once more that despite the claim of the sacred name teachers to the contrary, Jesus did not usually make verbatim quotations from the Hebrew Old Testament. Perhaps the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic and the Old Testament is written almost completely in Hebrew had something to do with this. With this evidence in view, it can be seen why his quotations were not usually verbatim. Besides, during the time Jesus lived people were not as concerned as people are today with making word for word quotations.
The usual wail of the sacred name teachers is how sure they are that Jesus would not have misquoted the Scriptures. A look at a few of these quotations will serve to show whether the quotes are indeed word for word.
The Temptation of Jesus
After he was baptized, Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted. He fasted forty days. The devil came to him and tempted him to turn stones into bread in order to satisfy his hunger. Jesus quoted the writings of Moses.
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4)
Below is given the wording from Deuteronomy. Notice how Jesus did not exactly quote the words of Moses. They are almost the same, but not exactly. Be aware that this is much closer to verbatim than most of his quotations of the Scriptures.
…man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Jesus did not say the last words, “doth man live.” He further puts the word God for the Tetragrammaton in his quotation. He does not in any way help sacred name teachers in the promotion of their doctrine. Both Matthew and Luke agree in their recording this occurrence. We have the required two witnesses to establish the facts here. Both witnesses agree that Jesus said the word God, not the customarily used “the Lord” and not the name Yahweh.
Jesus did not say the name Yahweh in this instance. He avoided saying it. He said God instead. Moses wrote the Tetragrammaton in his writings. But, Jesus replaced it with the word God as he quoted. Some sacred name people will not even allow the English word God or its Hebrew equivalent, Elohim, to be a part of their vocabulary.
A second time Jesus quoted the Old Testament scriptures when the devil tempted him to jump from the heights of the temple.
It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Matthew 4:7, Luke 4:12)
The Old Testament verse in Deuteronomy has it much the same but includes the Tetragrammaton. Jesus did not.
Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God… (Deuteronomy 6:16)
Again there is the double witness of Matthew and Luke to establish the facts. Jesus did not quote the verse verbatim. He did not utter the Tetragrammaton. At this point, he said the Lord instead of the Tetragrammaton.
Consideration of another quotation Jesus made at this same time will further serve to establish the point.
Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10)
Compare this with the writing in Deuteronomy.
Thou shalt fear the Lord your God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. (Deuteronomy 6:13)
Certainly this quote is not verbatim. [Editor's note: Jesus' quote appears to be from the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament rather than the Hebrew Masoretic text used in the KJV. His quote is verbatim from the Septuagint.] Where in Deuteronomy is, “and him only shalt thou”? Where in Jesus’ words is, “and shalt swear by his name”? In addition, Jesus said the Lord in place of YHWH.
This and other such quotations serve to give persuasion to the possibility that Jesus was sometimes quoting from one of the Targums of the Old Testament rather that making a direct quotation. It is also possible he made the paraphrase himself. At any rate, it is obvious to all that this is a paraphrase of the Deuteronomy text and no verbatim quote.
As his practice was, here he did not say the name Yahweh. Jesus consistently passed up every opportunity to make mention of this name. This quotation from Deuteronomy is no exception.
On one occasion in the temple, the Pharisees conceived a notion that they could entangle Jesus in his talk. They set verbal traps to ensnare him. They wanted to make him look foolish in front of the people and ultimately take him before the Roman governor. Neither these Pharisees nor the Sadducees were able to gain the advantage of him in the discussion. Matthew in his twenty-second chapter says Jesus put them to silence.
Then Jesus asked the Pharisees a question about the Christ. “Whose son is he?” They answered, “The son of David.” His follow up question was “How then doth David in spirit call him Lord?” Jesus quoted the words of David from the book of Psalms.
The Lord said unto my Lord sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, & Luke 20:42)
Jesus followed the quotation with another question for his antagonists. “If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?” After that no one was able to ask him anything. They stopped trying to trip him up in these discussions.
He quoted from the writings of David in an almost perfect quotation. But, almost is not verbatim. [Editor: unless He was again quoting from the Septuagint.]
The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.(Psalms 110:1)
The obvious difference in what David wrote and the quotation of it made by Jesus is Jesus replaced the Tetragrammaton with “the Lord.” He did not quote David verbatim at all. We have the same from the pen of all three gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke -- three witnesses. The truth is established. Jesus did not speak the name Yahweh.
On Pentecost, Peter quoted this same passage from the Psalms.9 It should be pointed out that this apostle followed the example of Jesus. He did not say the name Yahweh. Also, he never put into his writings any form of the Tetragrammaton. He did not write the vowel-less name in Hebrew characters. Nor did he attempt to bring into his Greek epistles any transliteration of the Tetragrammaton.
Jesus taught God’s will for his followers by his steadfast refusal to voice the Tetragrammaton. This is the example established by our Master, our Teacher. This is what he taught by his actions. It was his intention that we follow his example. Will we follow his footsteps in the matter of making no attempt to vocalize the guessed at pronunciation Yahweh or any of its variations? Or will we do as sacred name teachers do – forge ahead, going where Jesus himself did not go?
Jesus Concerning Moses At the Burning Bush
Luke records an occasion when Jesus commented on what Moses wrote about his encounter with God at the burning bush. The Sadducees had questioned Jesus about the resurrection.
Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. (Luke 20:37-38)
Jesus did not make a verbatim recitation of the words written by Moses. It does not seem to have been his intention to do so. He simply excerpted the references to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He quoted these words to his Sadducean antagonists. Here are the words recorded by Moses in Exodus.
…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.(Exodus 3:15)
Jesus quoted the words, “…the God or Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” This is an almost exact quotation of Moses’ writing. Except for the added conjunction, these words would be verbatim.
The words, “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses at the bush, when he calleth the Lord…” are the words of Jesus. He begins the quotation from the writings of Moses with the words, “…the God of Abraham.”
The immediate concern of this study is the way Jesus dealt with the Tetragrammaton. Therefore, the distinction between what Moses wrote and the words of Jesus himself is important. The words, “he calleth the Lord” are not part of the quotation. These are the words of Jesus, not of Moses.
In the quotation, Jesus says Moses called the Creator God. And in Luke’s narration of this event, Jesus himself called the Creator “the Lord.” He does not call God by the name Yahweh. Jesus is not substituting one word for another. He is in point of fact, calling God “the Lord.”
Very noticeable here is the fact that Jesus didn’t quote the complete sentence as Moses had written it. Jesus does not directly quote the words “YHWH God of your fathers.” He simple refers to God as the Lord by saying, “when he [Moses] calleth the Lord the God of Abraham...” In doing this Jesus does not speak the Tetragrammaton. He calls God “the Lord” instead. He begins his quotation immediately after the Tetragrammaton. His reference to God demonstrates a very clear difference between calling him Yahweh and calling him the Lord. It is hoped that such nuances of distinction are not altogether lost on every sacred name advocate.
The New Name That God Would Give
While the sacred name teacher will make much of the words “this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” (Exodus 3:15) in the writings of Moses referred to above, Jesus saw no reason to quote these words. What Jesus doesn’t say in this instance has a good deal of significance.
Certainly God gave his name to his people forever and to all generations. He put his name in the tabernacle when it was first set up at Shiloh. But because of the wickedness and rebellion of his people, he destroyed Shiloh and removed his name from that place. After that, he put his name in the house that Solomon built in Jerusalem. Just as he gave his name to his people forever, he put his name in the temple at Jerusalem forever.
I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eye and mine heart shall be there perpetually. (1 Kings 9:3)
However, because of the wickedness of his people, God destroyed the temple. Furthermore, he took his name from the people and from the temple. In spite of his having put his name there forever and perpetually, he removed his name just as he had done at Shiloh. Read the words of God recorded by Jeremiah.
But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. (Jeremiah 7:12-14)
Isaiah prophesied that God would put a new name upon His people.
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. (Isaiah 62:2)
Furthermore, Jeremiah foretold that God would establish a new covenant. The new covenant is established and dedicated by the blood of Jesus.10 Forgiveness of sins comes through the blood of the crucified Savior11 and is only obtainable through His name.12
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (Jeremiah 31:31)
God, by the mouth of His angel, has given the new name.13 In English, that new name is Jesus. Remission of sins comes through His name.14 This is the greatest name ever given. None is above it.15 Salvation is in no other.16
Sacred Name Doctrine Is Unsupported
No manuscript of the New Testament supports the sacred name position that Jesus said the name Yahweh as he quoted the Old Testament. Sacred name teachers take such an untenable position only because the sacred name doctrine demands that Jesus say the name Yahweh. They take this position despite the easily ascertainable facts to the contrary.
Simply reading and believing the New Testament will bring enlightenment to all who desire to learn the truth on these matters. The New Testament shows that Jesus never spoke the name Yahweh when he quoted the Old Testament or at any other time. Because of this, the sacred name teachers find it advantageous to cast aside the New Testament. They will do whatever is necessary to cling to their doctrine. Some of them will consent to the use of almost any name17 except the name of Jesus.
The Greek Texts
The English translations of the New Testament show that Jesus said God, Lord, and other words in place of the Tetragrammaton when he made quotations of Old Testament passages. This follows the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament that have Theos and Kurios. The English words God and Lord respectively, are translations of these Greek words.
The Hebrew Texts
Sacred name teachers often refer to the Shem Tob manuscript as an example of a Hebrew original New Testament. It should be kept in mind that the Shem Tob manuscript is of Matthew’s Gospel only. Some speak of it as though it were ink from the pen of Matthew himself. It is not. Such talk is the desire of sacred name teachers speaking.
When an examination of the Shem Tob manuscript is made, it will reveal that not one time is the name Yahweh found in the quotations Jesus made of Old Testament passages. The Shem Tob manuscript is a sixteenth century manuscript of the book of Matthew written in Hebrew. It is a translation from a Latin version of Matthew. Furthermore, it is hardly older that the King James Version of the Bible.
Whatever argumentation and debate these sacred name pseudo scholars may like to enter into regarding the Shem Tob Hebrew translation of Matthew, whatever fable they may have cunningly devised to have this Hebrew work be “the original Hebrew New Testament,” it still does not have the name Yahweh in a single instance where Jesus quotes the Old Testament. It does not have the name Yahweh any other place for that matter.
Some sacred name teachers want to inject the DuTillet manuscript into the discussion. It is another late Medieval Hebrew manuscript of Matthew’s Gospel. The above points apply to this manuscript also. It does not have the name Yahweh anywhere.
There is a complete Hebrew New Testament on one of the bookshelves right here in my office. It is of twentieth century vintage. It does not have the name Yahweh anywhere in any of Jesus’ Old Testament quotations. Sacred name teachers would gain as much support for their doctrine from quoting my Hebrew New Testament as from quoting the Shem Tob or the DuTillet manuscripts. None of these manuscripts show that Jesus said Yahweh as he quoted the Old Testament.
The Aramaic Texts- C.C. Torrey
Sacred name teachers also have problems with other texts of the New Testament. Translations from the so-called original Aramaic New Testament do not have the name Yahweh in the quotations Jesus made from the Old Testament.
In the early twentieth century, C. C. Torrey made large claims about an original Aramaic New Testament. These claims formed the basis for his work, The Four Gospels, a New Translation.18 Torrey readily confesses his Four Gospels” is a translation from the Greek.19 He deviated from the Greek Text only when he decided the Greek was in error. These sections of his work he called “retroversion.” Retroversion was nothing more than back translating from Greek to Aramaic.
Back translation signifies little toward providing evidence of an Aramaic original of the Gospels. Torrey was an argumentative man and thought of his arguments as evidence. One may present evidence in an argument; but an argument should never be thought of as evidence. Besides this, his arguments are convoluted and therefore, his conclusions were skewed.
Regardless of the details of how he may have arrived at his conclusions, do not be deceived. His work does not have the name Yahweh in the New Testament quotations Jesus made from the Old Testament.
A note of interest regarding Torrey’s positions: He thought only part of the New Testament was originally Aramaic – none Hebrew. He said Paul’s writings as well as most of the writings of Luke were originally Greek.
The Aramaic Texts- George Lamsa
Dr. George Lamsa believed the whole New Testament was originally written in Aramaic. In spite of Lamsa’s beliefs, his New Testament is translated from the Peshitta. The Peshitta is itself a translation from the Greek New Testament. It is certainly not the original New Testament. But the fact remains, neither Lamsa’s translation nor the Peshitta contain the name Yahweh in Jesus’ Old Testament quotations.
As a note of interest regarding another sacred name issue, it should be pointed out that Dr. Lamsa spoke Aramaic as his native language. This perhaps accounts for his prejudice in favor of that language. Nonetheless, Lamsa, a scholar of Semitic languages, said the name of Jesus would have been pronounced as Eshoo.20 This first syllable with an E sound indicates a wide divergence from sacred name doctrinal practice. This practice demands the first vowel of the original name be A, as in YAhshua. Torrey’s position is more in line with the apostles. They used the E sound in the first syllable when they transliterated Jesus' name into Greek in the New Testament. The name there is Ιησους– Iesous.
The advocates of the sacred name position find no help toward sustaining their position by searching any New Testament manuscript in any language. Maintaining that Jesus said Yahweh when he quoted the Old Testament and making this position a cardinal doctrine leaves them without even one witness.
The assertion that Jesus spoke the name Yahweh when he quoted the Old Testament is unfounded. The doctrine based upon this claim is a we-have-no-evidence-but-we-know-he-said-it doctrine. It is a he could-a said it, he should-a said it, and he would-a said it doctrine and no Bible doctrine at all.
All the textual evidence, the Aramaic, the Hebrew, and the Greek, is against the sacred name teaching. The weight of the evidence is that Jesus did not speak the Tetragrammaton when he quoted the Old Testament.
What Do Sacred Name Teachers Say To All This?
Has this lack of evidence deterred sacred name teachers from standing by their theory? Not in the least. These men are willing to sink right along with their ship.
Just how these teachers attempt to surmount the problem presented by this momentous lack of evidence deserves a word or two.
R. Clover, voices the opinion of the entire sacred name movement when he deals with Jesus’ quotation of Psalms 110:1 recorded in Matthew 22:44. Being a sacred name teacher, Clover claims Jesus spoke the name Yahweh in this quotation.21 As a matter of fact, Clover says it is irrational for anyone to think Jesus did not say Yahweh here.
If Clover could have cited a single verse from any New Testament text, be it Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, or some other language, in which Jesus actually says the Tetragrammaton in these quotations, he would have offered it without hesitation. But, there being no evidence of the name Yahweh in any text of the New Testament, he had nothing to offer. Still, he is dedicated to his task. He needs to quote something as reference material to uphold the claim he is making that Jesus spoke the name Yahweh. Any reference material will have to do, even if it doesn’t have Jesus saying the name Yahweh.
Clover succumbs to the necessity the sacred name doctrine forces upon him for research references and writes the following words in his footnote on Matthew 22:42. “Matt., 22:42; Mark, 12:36; Luke, 20:42f. That this is a quote from Ps., 110:1, using the name Yahweh, see SRB, pp. 1031, n. k, 1062, ns. x, y, 1105, ns. j, k; AB, NT, pp. 35, 70, 122; NJB, pp.1646, 1678, 1724.”22 [This is an exact quote, oddly placed commas et al.]
It is not the intention of this study to impute shameful motives to this writer. But whatever may have been Clover’s motive, the result he has produced is a pretense and a facade. It is tantamount to lying.
Notice how this sacred name teacher maintains his point. He gives research references that have not one word to say about his point. It is amazing to find that not a single one of his references say what sacred name teachers need them to say, namely that Jesus spoke the name Yahweh.
A detailed analysis of these footnotes will show Clover has referred to three study Bibles. His abbreviations are SRB - The Scofield Reference Bible; AB NT - The Amplified Bible, New Testament; and NJB - The New Jerusalem Bible.
On the face of his presentation, it would appear that Clover has given documentation that Jesus said the name Yahweh as he quoted Psalms 110:1. He seems to have quoted from some well-known and scholarly works that affirm his position. His footnote leaves the impression that these scholarly works say Jesus said Yahweh as he quoted the passage from Psalms 110. They do not.
Perhaps Clover is counting on most readers not to follow up his footnote references. Those who do not check these study Bibles might be lead to suppose that in them Jesus actually speaks the name Yahweh at Matthew 22:44. They might at least expect these authorities to be saying Jesus said Yahweh in this Old Testament quotation. None of this is what these books say.
When these study Bibles are checked, it is found that Jesus is not uttering the name Yahweh at all. Rather these Bibles simply are giving references that Jesus is quoting Psalms 110:1. The Scofield Reference Bible is readily available. Its center column notes on Matthew 22:42 gives Psalms 110:1 as a reference, nothing more. Scofield did not say or even hint that Jesus said the name Yahweh.
The fact that Jesus was quoting Psalms 110:1 was already obvious without Clover’s lengthy and complicated footnote. So what is this footnote, other that a clever little subterfuge? Such tactics are unworthy of this sacred name author. They demean and belittle the man who wrote them and the book that contains them.
The other Bibles Clover refers to do not have Yahweh in the text of Matthew 22. Clover knows this. The fact is, in the notes of these study Bibles it is just said that Jesus is quoting Psalms 110:1.
Let it be stated once more: not one of the Bibles Clover uses to confirm his point has the name Yahweh in the text of Matthew 22:44. The name Yahweh is not there. Jesus did not say it. Matthew did not write it. Not one of the Bible scholars Clover quotes says Jesus said Yahweh in this instance.
Can anything be plainer? In Matthew 22: 44 when Jesus quotes Psalms 110:1 and in all the other places where Jesus quotes from the Old Testament, the text shows that he did not say the name Yahweh. In no other place in the entire New Testament does Jesus speak the name Yahweh. In no text of the New Testament, not even the Hebrew and Aramaic ones, does Jesus ever speak the name Yahweh. According the Holy Record, Jesus never one time during his life here on earth said the name Yahweh.
All the instances when Jesus did not speak the name Yahweh when he quoted the Old Testament added together become a mountain of evidence against the sacred name doctrine. Under the pressure this want of evidence produces, the sacred name teacher not only will deny the validity of the New Testament, but also will practice subtle deceptions like the one just pointed out.
The Dog Chases His Tail
Sacred name teachers express grief over the fact that the manuscripts of the New Testament do not contain the name Yahweh. Their lamentation over this lack is especially poignant regarding Hebrew translations of the New Testament. In his book, Clover takes up the dirge with a charge of tampering. “This point is reflected in the later Jewish text of Matthew reproduced by Shem Tob, which clearly reflects Jewish tampering - i.e. it replaced the sacred name with traditional substitutions like ha-shem (the name), adonai, and eloahim. (see Howard, Matt. pp 201- 203).”23
With the exception of bibles produced by and for the sacred name movement, no text of the New Testament in any language will have Jesus saying the name Yahweh. Bemoaning this lack by sacred name teachers admits as much. The reason they think the text has been altered is because it does not contain the name Yahweh. The reason they think the name Yahweh should be in the text is because their false doctrine needs it to be there.
Notice how the sacred name movement’s arguments meet themselves coming back.
The doctrine of the sacred name is true.
THIS is supposed to PROVE Jesus said the name Yahweh in Old Testament quotations.
BUT, the name Yahweh is not in these New Testament quotations.
THIS is supposed to PROVE the New Testament is in error.
THIS again is supposed to PROVE the doctrine of the sacred name is true.
It is indeed a dog chasing its tail.
In Sacred Name Bibles Jesus Said Yahweh Many Times
Sacred name teachers and their converts are faced with the truth that their doctrine cannot be found in the Bible. That is, it cannot be found in any Bible except the ones they themselves have concocted. Perhaps it is of some comfort to sacred name people when they see the name Yahweh in a number of places in the New Testament. But, how can they overlook the fact they themselves put the name Yahweh into these bibles?
In a footnote Clover comments on Matthew 5:33, “The sacred name has been restored to this passage in the ROSNB [The Restoration of Sacred Name Bible, the Assembly of Yahvah bible] and BE [The Sacred Scriptures, Bethel Edition, the Assemblies of Yahweh bible] translations.”24 He refers to these counterfeit works as though they carried even a modicum of scriptural weight.
Having first put the name Yahweh into their bibles, they quote from these same bibles in support of their doctrine and they are still able to keep a straight face. But the larger question is how can they do this and keep a straight conscience? All who love and uphold what the Scriptures say can only stand by and shake their heads in amazement.
Of course, the sacred name teachers are not able to name one person in history who removed the name Yahweh from a single manuscript copy of the New Testament. There are over five thousand manuscripts copies, including those whole and in part, of the Greek New Testament in existence. Who took away the name Yahweh from all these books? Who took the name Yahweh out of the Aramaic Peshitta New Testament manuscripts and the Hebrew translation of Matthew’s Gospel? When was such a massive amount of tampering done?
It would have been a monumental task to remove the name Yahweh from all these manuscripts. It would have been impossible for anyone or any group to accomplish such a task without hundreds of people knowing about it. Yet history knows nothing about such an occurrence. Sacred name teachers are silent about the details of this imagined event. They cannot tell who did it. They cannot tell when it happened. They cannot tell how it was done. Yet, their foremost doctrine depends on this being a verifiable historical fact. It is not. The reason no historical documentation confirms it is simple. It did not happen.
The sacred name movement lacks any solid ground upon which to base its theory that Jesus spoke the name Yahweh when quoting the Old Testament. The movement’s teachers conjecture that “he would have” and that “he had to have” said the name Yahweh. They can bolster this belief with arguments like: Jesus said he said the name Yahweh to his followers and “Scripture does not lie.”25 No, the Scriptures do not lie. And, Jesus did not claim to have ever said the name Yahweh to his followers or to anyone else. Additionally, the Scriptures know of no place or time wherein Jesus said the name Yahweh.
The New Testament gives no indication that Jesus spoke the name Yahweh when he quoted the Old Testament. Sacred name teachers are not able to make good on their claims. They uphold and propagate a false doctrine. They are found to be false teachers.
Footnotes1. Targum: Any of several Aramaic translations or paraphrases of the Old Testament. [back]
2. No attribution of authorship, [Donald Mansager (?) perhaps], Yahweh’s New Covenant Assembly publication, Our Savior Spoke the Sacred Name. Concerning a list of instances when Jesus quoted from the Old Testament this publication says, “Following is a list of some of the verses that contain the Name Yahweh, and which Yahshua quoted verbatim in the New Testament.” [back]
3. Personal letter from sacred name missionary, Tony Suckla, 04/02/00. [back]
4. Jacob O. Meyer, Exploding the Inspired Greek New Testament Myth, pg. 3 [back]
5. Most sacred name people reject the name Christian. Messianic is more palatable to them. However, some think of themselves as worshiping God according to the precepts of Judaism. [back]
6. Front dust cover flap, The Five Gospels, the Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus, Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hooper, et. al, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1993. [back]
7. Ibid, pg. ix. These scholars wasted six years answering the question, “What did Jesus really say?” [back]
8. 1 Peter 1:23-25 [back]
9. Acts 2:34 [back]
10. Hebrews 9:15-28 & 13:20-21 [back]
11. Matthew 26:28 [back]
12. Acts 4:12 & Acts 10:43 [back]
13. Matthew 1:21 [back]
14. Acts 10:43 [back]
15. Philippians 2:9-10 [back]
16. Acts 4:12 [back]
17. Some sacred name teachers allow numerous variations of their so-called Hebrew name for Jesus. One gives over fifty different Hebrew names that he thinks are all right to use for the Savior. Jesus is not a name he allows. [back]
18. By Charles Cutler Torrey, Harper and Brothers, NY and London, 1933 [back]
19. Page x of the Preface: “ The English version which is here offered follows the Greek closely…” [back]
20. Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text, translated by George M. Lamsa, Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1968, pp xix, introductory pages. [back]
21. R. Clover, The Sacred Name Yahweh, pg. 166 [back]
22. ibid. pg. 166 [back]
23. ibid. pg. 274 [back]
24. ibid. pg. 165 [back]
25. Tom Martinic, aka Eliyah, Did the Messiah say the Sacred Name? [back]