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Septuagint Error in Lev. 24:16 & The Ineffable Name Doctrine

The only sin in the Law about simply uttering a name was uttering a name of a false god. In Exodus 23:13, we read: "And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." (KJV). It logically follows that no such prescription belonged to simply uttering Yahweh's name.

By a later human tradition that became strong by 100-200 AD, it became a sin also to utter at all the true name of God out loud. This is known as the Ineffable Name doctrine.

But in truth, uttering the true God's name was encouraged by Yahweh to Moses, and Jesus to us. Yahweh told Moses to tell the sons of Israel that "YAHWEH is my name forever."

Again Elohim said to Moses, “This is what you must say to the people of Israel: Yahweh Elohim of your ancestors, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever. This is my title throughout every generation. (Exodus 3:15 NOG.)

Jesus likewise told the Father (Yahweh): "I made known to them Thy name, and will make known, that the love with which Thou lovedst me in them may be, and I in them.'" (John 17:26 YLT)

Yahweh thus declared Moses should tell others His holy name. And Jesus assured the Father that He had made Yahweh's name known. (Professor Howard determined that by the early 300s, manuscripts of the NT which often had YAHWEH in them were all removed, and replaced with Greek texts that replaced the name with euphemisms, e.g., the LORD, GOD, etc.)

This Ineffable Name tradition still has a strong hold on our modern mind by the deliberate artifice by those "who know better" of how Bibles should be reprinted. One Bible translation after another omits YAHWEH and replaces it with the term LORD although it appears thousands of times in the original Hebrew text. (The NT was stripped long ago so we have little manuscript evidence prior to the 300s to restore the name where it once belonged.)

If you did not know this, then prepare yourself to be shocked by looking at Exodus 20 in the Names of God Bible and then switch to any other version at this BibleGateway link. God's true name disappears, as if it were God's command of Exodus 23:13 not simply to utter a false god's name but rather was extended to prohibit uttering the name of the true God - YAHWEH. 

Septuagint Bible is To Blame 

Between 100 - 300 AD, both Jews and Christians were gradually promoting the Ineffable Name doctrine -- that it was sinful to just use the true name of God in speech -- formed from the 4 letters known as the Tetragrammaton. I believe the name is Yahweh. Others say it is Jehovah, etc.

This Ineffable Name doctrine stemmed evidently from a mistranslation in 257 BC of Leviticus 24:16 in the Septuagint Bible.

The Septuagint Greek translation of 257 BC reads:

“And he that names the name of the Lord, let him die
death: let all the congregation of Israel stone him with
stones; whether he be a stranger or a native, let him
naming the name of the Lord.” (Brenton – LXX)

What it says instead in Hebrew, as the NIV renders it, is:

anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death. (Lev. 24:16 NIV.)

One can readily see that naming the name of God became wrong by a mistranslation. Only blasphemy -- essentially an insult -- of God's name was wrong under the true words of the passage.

That the Septuagint is to blame is indirectly revealed by the coincidence that as early as the Dead Sea Scrolls, this erroneous view emerges -- that is from around 250 BC forward. In the Manual of Discipline in the Qumran scrolls (dated to around the 200 BC era), we find this ban on the use of the name Yahweh:

Any man who mentions anything by the Name which is honored above all shall be set apart (i.e., banished) (Man. of Disc. 6:27)

In the Yoma in the Mishnah, we similarly find: 

One does not pronounce the ineffable name outside (of the temple).  (Yoma 3:8; 4:1,2; 6:1,2; 8:9.)

Incidentally, Lesson About What Jesus Truly Said at the Trial

Professor Howard has demonstrated that the earliest Christian Gospels likely had "Yahweh" in many places, but due to the rise of the Ineffable Name doctrine, they were replaced with versions that removed the name Yahweh.

Here, I also will demonstrate that something was removed from the text of Jesus' trial that only once replaced with Yahweh, the verdict finally makes sense.

We are told in the gospel texts that survived -- which all are only post 300s -- that Jesus said at His trial that He would return seated on the "right hand of POWER." But I believe the ineffable name doctrine caused a scribe to remove YHWH -- the Tetragrammaton -- from the Gospel text. What Jesus actually said was YAHWEH. This explains why the priest then rent his garment, claiming Jesus had thereby blasphemed when simply saying He was the Son of Man coming to return on the "right hand of power." Those words alone (now found by themselves in the Gospel) would not conceivably be blasphemy. Something was removed so we cannot see what the priest thought was the blasphemy. It certainly was because Jesus must have uttered the name of YHWH.

Thus, because of the Septuagint version of Leviticus, any verbalization of the name YHWH had become considered to be blasphemy. Jesus must have been thought to have broken that erroneous Septuagint-translation of the blasphemy rule from Leviticus.

Reflecting the procedure at Jesus' trial, the legal procedures in the Sanhedrin rules near the early 200s AD say one could not be convicted of blasphemy unless one had exactly pronounced the sacred name (of Yahweh):

"The blasphemer" is not culpable unless he exactly pronounces the name. (Sanh. 7:5,  quoted from The Sacred Name (Qadesh La Yahuwah Press, 1995) at 156.)

The footnote goes on to say, "William Arnold brings our attention to the fact that the Hebrew expression ... literally means that the blasphemer, to be guilty, must pronounce the sacred name YHWH 'exactly.'"

In other words, blasphemy, based upon the mistranslated Septuagint, came to be defined as correctly pronouncing the sacred name.

The Sanhedrin even laid down a very specific procedure for bringing a conviction of blasphemy.  According to the Mishnah, the following is an example of that procedure:

Rabbi Joshua ben Karha says: On every day they examined the witnesses with a substituted name, "May Jose smite Jose."  When sentence was to be given they did not declare him guilty of death with the substituted name, but  they sent out all the people and asked the chief among the witnesses and said to him.  "Say exactly what you heard." and he says it; and the judges stand up on their feet and rend their garments, and they may not mend them again.  And the second witness says, "I also heard the like," and the third says, "I also heard the like." (Ibid.)

Even at a trial, because of their Septuagint mistranslation, the rabbis used a substitute name for Yahweh when interrogating witnesses.  And then only just before the conclusion did they actually have the chief witness exactly pronounce the sacred name when quoting the defendant. 

Then the judges, even though the Torah clearly forbids the high priest tearing his garment, were to rend their garments in a demonstration of being appalled, according to the Mishnah:

The judges stand up on their feet and rend their garments, and they may not mend them again. (Sanh. 7:5)

This completed the procedure for convicting a blasphemer.

Based upon such evidence, I agree with the conclusion in Did the Messiah Say The Heavenly Father's Name that Jesus being quoted as referencing "Power" was a deliberate scribal euphemism for what Jesus truly said -- YHWH:

Now let's examine the trial in which Yahushua was sentenced to death.

Matt 26:64 (KJV) Yahushua saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

In light of these verses, it is fascinating to study the historical context of what was going on. Based on the above scripture, it is evident that the official charge against the Messiah was "blasphemy". The word "Power" in verse 64 was a popular 'euphemism' or substitution for the divine name Yahweh. Now according to the Mishna:

"He who blasphemes is liable only when he will have fully pronounced the Divine Name. Said R. Joshua ben Qorha, "on every day (of the trial) they examine the witnesses with a substituted name. When sentence was to be given they did not declare him guilty of death with the substituted name, but they put everyone out and ask the most important of the witnesses, saying to him, "Say, what exactly did you hear?" And he says what he heard. And the judges stand on their feet and tear their clothing, and they may not mend them again.(m.San. 7:5)"

Therefore, it is evident that historically no man could be sentenced for blasphemy unless he had actually spoken the Divine Name. This is further proven when we see that the High Priest "rent his clothes" upon obviously hearing the name since Yahushua  (as he said "what further need have we of witnesses?"), just as Sanhedrin practice dictated when someone blashemed by merely uttering the name YHWH (Yahweh).




Study Notes

For a detailed article on the origins of the Ineffable Name Doctrine, see David Roger's "God's Name" from Bible Truth (2004).

Proof that the Ineffable name doctrine is Biblically false is Numbers 5:23. The priest was to write a curse on a scroll which had the name Yahweh appear twice. After doing so, "he shall wash them off into the water of bitterness." Under one aspect of the Ineffable Name doctrine, it is so sacred that it cannot be erased, thrown into the garbage, etc. But here we find the priest had to wash off the name of YHWH into a wash basin, and go into the sewer drain. What gives? 

The ineffable name doctrine is a man-made doctrine that creates phobias and fears that God never commands. The tragic result is that people who believe in God never call on His name, and rarely know His name is YAHWEH. God said that is how his people should identify themselves. Why does this not happen? The commands of men.