The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible is, by date of publication, the second Sacred Name Bible. Following thirteen years after The Holy Name Bible, it was published by Missionary Dispensary Bible Research in 1976.
The purpose of this revision project is stated in a very straightforward way in the title and on the front cover. The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible is ambitiously set before us as "restoring into the Scriptures the sacred glorious Name of the Heavenly Father and His Son."
The editors of the ROSNB do not give the name of anyone who worked on the revision project. However, it would not be mere speculation to conclude that it is the work of L. D. Snow and/or his spiritual descendants.
Snow was one of the pioneers in the Sacred Name Movement. In 1945, he and his wife began publication of a periodical promoting the use of the Sacred Names. It was first called the Yahwist Field Reporter. Later, it was renamed Kingdom Messenger and Field Reporter. Later still, it became The Eliyah Messenger and Field Reporter. He organized The Assembly of Yahvah, a still active and zealous Sacred Name group, in 1949.
The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible introduces some changes to Sacred Name Bible publication.
First, it forsakes the King James Version. Rather than base the ROSNB on the time honored KJV, the editors chose Joseph Bryant Rotherham’s translation, The Emphasized Bible as the basis for their work. From ROSNB’s preface: "This Sacred Version is the Rotherham Version revised."
Numerous Sacred Name people had long preferred The Emphasized Bible , published in 1897, because Rotherham brought the tetragrammaton into English as Yahweh. ROSNB differs little from The Emphasized Bible except in its change of divine titles and names.
The use of this lesser esteemed translation is one reason ROSNB has not gained the popularity among Sacred Name people enjoyed by The Holy Name Bible , a KJV based revision.
A second innovation of ROSNB is its use of YAHVAH as the rendering of the Sacred Name. Yahvah has been used by a small minority in the Movement since its beginning in the 1930s. This spelling and pronunciation has never gained widespread acceptance among Sacred Name people.
By the end of the nineteenth century, Yahweh was the English rendering of the tetragrammaton widely adopted by scholars. Rotherham used this form in his translation "as practically the best." It should be noted that Dr. Rotherham was a scholar of some standing in the academic community. He was connected in no way with the Sacred Name Movement.
Because its editors chose to use YAHVAH for the Sacred Name, ROSNB would not find users among as many as half of all Sacred Name people who believe Yahweh is the correct form.
Clarence O. Dodd used this "V" pronunciation for the Sacred Name during some of the early years of his Sacred Name publication, The Faith magazine.
L. D. Snow became convinced that Yahvah was the correct spelling and pronunciation for the Sacred Name by studying Dodd and by other research. Moreover, when Dodd ceased to use Yahvah and began to use Yahweh, Snow held to his convictions and continued to use YAHVAH.
Perhaps from the editors’ point of view, promoting this less appreciated rendering of the tetragrammaton would be the true purpose of ROSNB. Page v. of ROSNB gives some of the reasons Yahvah is thought to be the correct English form of the Sacred Name.
This Snow influenced Bible revision has another notable peculiarity that demands a word of comment. For our Savior's name, ROSNB uses Yahshua with few exceptions. Those exceptions, however, are very telling. The editors believe YAHVAHSHUA is the original and true Hebrew name for Jesus.
Of course, Yahvahshua is not the original Hebrew name. Yahvahshua is not a Hebrew name at all. It is a contrived word; a manufactured word. It was cooked up using a cup or two of vivid imagination, a few ounces of assumed necessity, two quarts of bold ignorance, and a half a spoon full of pseudo scholarship.
The commentary pages of ROSNB state that Yahshua is simply a contraction of the name YAHVAHSHUA. It is further disclosed that Yahshua is a "shorter" form and an "abbr." (abbreviation) of the original Name.
In a bible revision with the stated purpose, yea, with the very title, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, why was this shortened version used? In only a dozen or so places do we find the purported "original" form of the Savior's name restored to the text. Indeed, ROSNB has truncated the Name in all but a few instances. Why?
If YAHVAHSHUA is the original form of the name, it certainly should have been used in this version. What was this revision for? Why use an abbreviation at all? Of nearly one thousand instances of the Savior's name in the New Testament, ROSNB restores its own stated original Sacred Name only about a dozen times.
Is this a bow to the more popular Name in the Movement? Surely not. Is it an attempt to sell more books? Such a strategy cannot be imagined. What, then?
Readers of ROSNB are only left to wonder. First, they wonder that the editors did not see fit to use the Name and the only Name they themselves have advanced as the original. Next, they wonder over lack of explanation for this oversight. If such a thing was to be done, the editors should have felt an obligation to set the reasons before the readers. Finally, readers are left to wonder why in this humbly and sincerely done work of revision, no name for our Savior was to be found worthy of the editor's full loyalty. ( See Quest for the Sacred Name, Part II. )
This review would not be complete without pointing out that ROSNB, as all Sacred Name Bibles, has neither scholarly authority nor scriptural authority to bring the tetragrammaton into the text of the New Testament. It was never there. There is also no valid basis for substituting Elohim for God (Theos) in the New Testament. Elohim is a Hebrew word; the New Testament was written in Greek. There is no justifiable reason to put in a Hebrew (or supposed Hebrew) name for our Savior. In the New Testament it is IhsouV , Jesus. No Hebrew name for him was ever there.
The conclusion about ROSNB is simple enough. It was made by (a) humble, earnest, and sincere men (man). They have a great deal of misguided zeal, but are not Bible language scholars and do no apply even the rudiments of textual criticism to their revision. In harmony with their own statement, this revision is Rotherham’s Bible with almost nothing besides names changed.
With few exceptions, Yahweh is replaced with YAHVAH. God is changed to Elohim. Jesus is Yahshua. Christ becomes Messiah. Lord is changed to Yahvah (Master, if of Jesus).
In view of all this, let is be stated with emphasis: whether Sacred Name Bible revisers admit it or not, one of their major purposes seems to be removing the name of Jesus from their books.
The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible has accomplished little aside from purging the text of the name of Jesus. Except for this, Rotherham’s translation would have served.
If our view of the purpose of Sacred Name Bibles is the correct one, the publishers of ROSNB may regard their work as an admirably success. They have gotten the name of Jesus out of Rotherham’s Bible.
In their own stated purpose of restoring the original Sacred Names, they have failed. By giving in to whatever pressures bore upon them and inserting a shortened version of our Savior's name into the New Testament they forfeited their aim of restoration. Their mission was not accomplished.
1. Editors, revisers, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible , (Alabama, Missionary Dispensary Bible Research, 1976) preface, text, and commentary remarks
2. Snow, L. C., "A Brief History of the Name Movement in America," The World Today Analyzed, Formerly The Eliyah Messenger, (September 1975)
3. Nickels, Richard, "Origin and History of the Sacred Name Movement" (Privately published essay, WWW)
4. Rotherham, Joseph Bryant, translator, The Emphasized Bible, (The Standard Publishing Company, 1898)